Michigan Trump Staffer Convicted on Ten Counts of Felony Election Fraud
It took less than an hour Wednesday for a jury to convict political activist Brandon Michael Hall on 10 counts of election law fraud, following a day-and-a-half trial in Ottawa County Circuit Court.
The 27-year-old Grand Haven resident, author of the West Michigan Politics blog and self-admitted political junkie, said the verdict wasn’t a surprise. Hall said that he had resigned himself to that possibility after the Michigan Supreme Court, during this past summer, determined his case should be tried as a felony.
Hall showed only a little emotion and quickly composed himself as the jury foreman announced the verdict.
Hall was charged with election law fraud after forging signatures on petitions in a 2012 effort to get judicial candidate Chris Houghtaling on the ballot.
Local courts initially agreed with Hall’s position that the case should be tried as a misdemeanor, based on a statement printed on the petitions, but the Attorney General’s Office appealed the case through the court system until the Michigan Supreme Court made the decision. That’s why it took so long for the case to come to trial.
Hall was formally charged with the felonies again in August. The case was eventually set for this week’s trial after he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At one point, during the years of appeals, both the defense and the Attorney General’s Office agreed to a list of stipulated facts. Those facts included the following: that Hall was helping Houghtaling get signatures on petitions for a May 1, 2012, filing deadline; that Hall and a friend, Zachary Savage, filled in the petitions using different colored pens and different hands; that Houghtaling drove Hall and Savage to Lansing while they continued to fill in the signatures; and that Hall copied numerous names from a 2010 petition.