LIVONIA (WWJ/AP) – Two former aides of ex-Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter have pleaded guilty to a series of misdemeanors for falsifying petition signatures ahead of his failed re-election campaign.

Attorney Mark Mandell, who represents Paul Seewald, spoke to reporters following his client’s court appearance on Tuesday.

“I think it’s the first time that anyone in the history of the state of Michigan has been prosecuted for signing a petition as … the circulator who didn’t circulate the petition,” said Mandell. “But, be that as it may, he did take responsibility for that today.”

Both Seewald and co-defendant Don Yowchuang still face felony charges.

“Both Mr. Seewald and Mr. Youchuang have been charged with a conspiracy felony but, more specifically, there’s a disagreement between the Attorney General and myself as it relates to that,” said Mandell. “I believe that it’s a question of the law for the judge to make that decision and the Attorney General believes it’s a question of fact.”

Officials say McCotter’s staff turned in less than the 1,000 valid signatures needed to get on the August primary ballot. Some petitions were photocopied and cut and pasted from previous years.

McCotter, who hasn’t been charged, testified it was “shocking” to learn that he didn’t have enough petition signatures to qualify for the 2012 election.

There’s no evidence the Livonia Republican was aware of the alleged scheme, although Attorney General Bill Schuette said McCotter was clearly “asleep at the switch.”

The petition scandal knocked McCotter off the ballot and led to his resignation last summer.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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