The petition to the Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council asks for a special investigator to probe Matthew DePerno for what is described as a “coordinated plan” to gain access to voting tabulators used in three Michigan counties.
A preliminary review conducted by Nessel’s office and the Michigan State Police has produced evidence supporting prosecutorial review, according to the petition, which was made public on Aug. 8.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, asked for the review.
DePerno worked with others to obtain five tabulators, which were taken to hotels or Airbnb rentals in Oakland County, Nessel deputy Danielle Hagaman-Clark wrote in the petition. His co-conspirators broke into the tabulators and performed tests on the equipment, and DePerno was allegedly present during the tests.
Possible charges against DePerno include conspiracy, using a computer system to commit a crime, and willfully damaging a voting machine.
While there was no conflict of interest when the probe began, DePerno has since become the presumptive Republican nominee for state attorney general, the letter notes. Nessel, a Democrat, is running for reelection.
A special prosecutor should be appointed to handle the prosecutorial review, the petition says.
The campaign of DePerno, the lawyer in one of the highest-profile 2020 election cases in the country, said he rejects the allegations from Nessel’s office, calling the petition “an incoherent liberal fever dream of lies.”
“It is clear that Dana Nessel is attacking our democracy and demonstrates she wants to turn our great country into a banana republic,” the campaign said. “This is a complete absurdity that shows the tactics of the institutional left. Matt DePerno looks forward to defeating her and bringing back order to this office in November.”
If action is taken on the claims, Nessel may herself be prosecuted in the future, DePerno’s campaign also said.
DePerno was picked by the Michigan Republican Party in April to challenge Nessel, over Tom Leonard, a former Michigan House speaker, and state Rep. Ryan Berman.
Former President Donald Trump has endorsed him.
The Michigan Republican Party is slated to formally name DePerno as its attorney general candidate at the state convention later this month.
The general election is scheduled for Nov. 8.
Nessel, who took office in 2019 after leading a law firm, is running unopposed. Libertarian Joe McHugh is also in the race.