TROY (WWJ/AP) – A Detroit-area man says he was granted immunity to help authorities in a case involving election petitions submitted by former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s campaign.
Doug Bauss testified Thursday in a Troy court that he agreed to sign petitions that listed him as the person who collected signatures. Bauss says he did it at the request of McCotter aide Mary Turnbull.
Turnbull actually collected the names, but she believed she couldn’t be listed as the petition circulator because she lived outside McCotter’s district. Troy Judge Dennis Drury will decide Nov. 1 whether there’s probable cause to send Turnbull to trial on a conspiracy charge. Her lawyer, Robert Kostin, says a felony charge doesn’t fit.
Three other people were charged in the McCotter probe: Lorianne O’Brady, Don Yowchuang and Paul Seewald.
McCotter, who isn’t accused of any wrongdoing, abruptly resigned July 6 during an investigation of the petition scandal that kept the Livonia Republican from seeking re-election. The investigation found many of the signatures had been forged or copied from other petitions.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette called the actions by the four defendants a “cut and paste job that would make a fourth grade art teacher cringe” and give “Elmer’s Glue a bad name.”
“They’d take petitions then Xerox them, copy them a couple of times to add to the numbers — that’s wrong,” Schuette said.
Schuette said only 244 signatures out of 1,800 submitted in May were valid.
The failure of McCotter to submit the needed signatures paved the way for tea party-backed Kerry Bentivolio to win the GOP nomination in the primary election. He faces Democrat Syed Taj, a physician, in the Nov. 6 election.
Republicans had expected the 46-year-old McCotter, who mounted a quixotic presidential campaign last year, to win easy re-election in the conservative-leaning metro Detroit district.
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