Michael McGuinness and Jason Bauer, the two former Oakland County Democratic Party workers charged in the so-called “Tea Party” scandal, had a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 24 and are scheduled for another on Wednesday, Aug. 31 in front of Oakland County Circuit Court Judge James Alexander.
According to staff in Alexander’s office, three motions have been filed that will be taken under consideration. The first, filed by Bauer’s attorney, requests a separate trial for the two former Democratic Party officials. The second, also made by Bauer’s legal counsel, asks for the jury selection process to be done via questionnaires. The third motion, a request for a bill of particulars, effectively means that McGuinness’ attorney wants “the court to list out what exactly the indictment is,” according to Alexander’s staff.
Michael Dezsi, Bauer’s attorney, could not be reached for comment prior to this posting.
McGuinness faces six counts of forgery and perjury, while Bauer faces the same counts, plus three other charges for allegedly violating provisions of the Michigan Notary Public Act when he notarized what were allegedly fraudulent 2010 candidate affidavits for Aaron W. Tyler, who was running for the county Board of Commissioners 2nd District seat; Ruth A. Spearman, who was running for the Board of Commissioners 4th District seat; and Johnathon Michael Young, who was running for the state Senate’s 12th District seat.
Uttering and publishing (forgery) is a 14-year felony; perjury is a 5-year felony; and violations of the Notary Public Act are 1-year misdemeanor offenses.
The county board’s 2nd District represents Highland Township, the village of Holly, and Holly, Springfield and Rose townships. District 4 represents portions of Waterford and Independence townships, and Clarkston.
The pair are accused of attempting to run so-called “Tea Party” candidates in the 2010 election in an attempt to siphon conservative votes from Republican candidates in the mid-term election cycle.
In July 2010, a group identifying itself as the “Tea Party” submitted 59,000-plus voter signatures to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, as well as the names of 23 candidates seeking legislative positions as Tea Party candidates.
Waterford resident Matthew David Quinn was named in a candidate affidavit filed with the Secretary of State’s office as a Tea Party candidate for the 43rd state House District seat, a position currently held by state Rep. Gail Haines (R-Waterford, West Bloomfield). Bauer allegedly has singed the affidavit naming Quinn.
Likewise, Waterford resident Andrew Nicholls was named in an affidavit as a Tea Party candidate seeking the 26th state Senate District seat, which at the time was held by former state Sen. Deb Cherry but is now held by state Sen. David Robertson (R-Waterford). Most of that district is in Genesee County. Bauer also allegedly signed that candidate affidavit.
Lyon Township resident Heather Sartorius, who was born in June 1990, making her just 20-years-old at the time, was named in an affidavit as a Tea Party candidate vying for the 15th state Senate District seat held at the time by former state Sen. Nancy Cassis but now held by state Sen. Mike Kowall (R-Commerce, Milford, Highland, White Lake, West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake, Wixom, Walled Lake, Wolverine Lake). Again, Bauer allegedly had signed that candidate affidavit.
The Michigan Constitution requires that state representatives and senators be at least 21 years of age, meaning Sartorius was an ineligible candidate for that office.
Neither Quinn, Nicholls, nor Sartorius have been charged or accused of any violation of law.