Clerk charged with election law violations for alleged role in 2020 presidential election

Grot told not to conduct Shelby elections during case

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby-Utica News | Published August 8, 2023

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — On July 18, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released an announcement of felony charges against 16 Michigan residents, including Shelby Township Clerk Stanley Grot, pertaining to their roles in the alleged false electors scheme following the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Nessel alleges that 16 Michigan residents met in the basement of Michigan Republican headquarters and signed their names to multiple certificates stating that they were “the duly elected and qualified electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America for the State of Michigan.”

“That was a lie,” Nessel said, according to a transcript her office made available of her recorded remarks. “They weren’t the duly elected and qualified electors, and each of the defendants knew it. They carried out these actions with the hope and belief that the electoral votes of Michigan’s 2020 election would be awarded to the candidate of their choosing, instead of the candidate that Michigan voters actually chose.

“After signing these fraudulent electoral documents, some of the False Electors attempted to enter the state capitol and deliver their fabricated electoral votes to the Senate floor but were turned away,” she said, according to the transcript.

According to Nessel, the documents were then conveyed to the United States Senate and the National Archives, with the intent that then-Vice President Mike Pence would use them to overturn the results of the election.

Each defendant, including Grot, has been charged with: 

• One count of conspiracy to commit forgery, a 14-year felony.  

• Two counts of forgery, a 14-year felony.

• One count of conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing, a 14-year felony. 

• One count of uttering and publishing, a 14-year felony.

• One count of conspiracy to commit election law forgery, a five-year felony. 

• Two counts of election law forgery, a five-year felony.

“The false electors’ actions undermined the public’s faith in the integrity of our elections and, we believe, also plainly violated the laws by which we administer our elections in Michigan,” Nessel said in a prepared statement. “My department has prosecuted numerous cases of election law violations throughout my tenure, and it would be malfeasance of the greatest magnitude if my department failed to act here in the face of overwhelming evidence of an organized effort to circumvent the lawfully cast ballots of millions of Michigan voters in a presidential election.” 

Each of the defendants is charged individually in 54-A District Court in Ingham County. Grot was arraigned Aug. 8, at which time he pleaded not guilty to the charges, and at press time the court scheduled his probable cause hearing for Aug. 18 and his preliminary examination for Aug. 25.

Following the announcement of charges, Jonathan Brater, director of the Bureau of Elections within the Michigan Department of State, sent a letter to Grot telling him to refrain from any election duties of the township clerk.

“Our legal system presumes that persons accused of criminal conduct are innocent until proven guilty and the criminal charges you currently face could eventually be resolved in your favor. However, allegations that you have violated Michigan criminal and election statutes by attempting to award the state’s electoral votes to candidates other than those actually elected by the people of Michigan fundamentally undermines voter confidence in the integrity of elections. Therefore, in order to ensure public trust and confidence in the integrity and security of elections, I am instructing you to refrain from administering any elections held in Shelby Township while these charges are pending against you,” Brater wrote.

Brater said in the letter that the Shelby Township deputy clerk should handle the election duties until further notice.

At press time, only the alleged false electors in Michigan had been charged; those accused of the same activity in other battleground states had not been charged for their alleged actions.

In the wake of the charges, Vance Patrick, the chair of the Oakland County Republican Party, released a statement that reads: “This is an egregious abuse of power by a radical progressive and continues the trend of politically motivated witch hunts, perpetrated by the left against Republican candidates and activists.”

Nessel is a Democrat.

On Aug. 7, attorneys Derek S. Wilczynski and Michael J. Balian released a statement on Grot's behalf.

"We have been retained by Stanley Grot, the Shelby Township Clerk, to represent him in response to the political charges brought by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. This case is concerning as it involves the misuse of the office of Michigan's Attorney General to intimidate and threaten duly appointed electors, such as Mr. Grot, for their support of President Trump. There is no merit to the charges alleged against Mr. Grot, and the Affidavit provided by Ms. Nessel's investigator does not support these allegations.

"Even more troubling, the Secretary of State has issued an improper directive for Mr. Grot to cease all election-related activities simply because he has been charged by Ms. Nessel. This order deprives the residents of Shelby Township of the services they elected Mr. Grot to perform, despite their continued support during his tenure in office. The Secretary of State lacks the authority to direct Mr. Grot to stop performing his duties. We intend to address this directly with the Secretary of State's office.

"Given the ongoing litigation, Mr. Grot will not be granting any media interviews at this time. Mr. Grot is determined to fight these false charges and asserts his innocence.

"We remain confident he will be exonerated," the statement reads.

Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran contributed to this report.