Another staffer of former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter will face trial in Oakland County Circuit Court on charges that she helped in a petition signature scheme that eventually cost the five-term congressman his political career.
Mary Melissa Turnbull, McCotter’s former district representative from Howell, was bound over to the Circuit Court last week following a preliminary examination in the 52-4 District Court in Troy.
She is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner, a five-year felony, and one count of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator, a 93-day misdemeanor.
In addition to the charges against Turnbull, three other former McCotter staffers were charged in the case by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in August.
Don Yowchuang, McCotter’s 33-year-old former deputy district director from Farmington Hills and Paul Seewald, 47, a former district director for McCotter from Livonia, have been bound over to Wayne County Circuit Court to face trial.
The pair were scheduled for an arraignment yesterday, Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Yowchuang faces 10 counts of election fraud forgery, a five-year felony; one count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner; and six counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator.
Seewald faces one count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner and nine counts of falsely signing a nominating petition.
Lorianne O’Brady, a 52-year-old former McCotter scheduler from Livonia, was sentenced on Thursday, Oct. 25 to participate in a work-release program for 20 days after pleading no contest in September to five charges of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator.
O’Brady, was also placed on probation for 18 months and ordered to pay $1,385 in fines and costs, according to staff in the 16th District Court in Livonia.
The election fraud scheme effectively torpedoed McCotter’s political career after irregularities in petition signatures were discovered in May by staff in Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office. It was revealed just a few hundred of the more than 1,000 nominating petition signatures McCotter’s team turned in to get him on the Aug. 7 primary election ballot were falsified or fraudulent.
McCotter eventually resigned from his seat, forcing state officials to schedule a Sept. 5 special primary election that cost the state and local units of government about $650,000.
Milford Republican Kerry Bentivolio won both the regular GOP primary election in the new 11th Congressional District for a new full two-year term and the Sept. 5 special GOP primary election to serve the remaining weeks of McCotter’s unexpired term in the existing 11th District handily. Bentivolio faced Canton Township Democrat Dr. Syed Taj in yesterday’s Nov. 6 general election and Belleville Democrat David A. Curson in the special general election, held in conjunction with the regular general election.
The election was held after press time.
Turnbull posted a $5,000 personal bond on Friday, Nov. 2, court records show. Her case is before Circuit Court Judge Leo Bowman, and she is scheduled for pretrial and arraignment at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13.