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Judge to Hear Motion to Dismiss for Thaddeus McCotter Staffer

Dec 3 | 2012  by

Attorney General Bill Schuette deemed the acts of Paul Seewald and Don Yowchuang a “disgraceful violation of the public trust” on Tuesday. The two, who worked for former congressman Thaddeus McCotter and were involved in McCotter’s petition scandal, entered pleas to all but one of the criminal charges brought against them. Seewald and Yowchuang, along with other members of McCotter’s Michigan staff, were involved in the fraudulent copying and altering of petitions that led to McCotter’s qualification for the 2012 Michigan ballot.

Yowchuang pleaded no contest to ten counts of forgery – a felony – and six counts of falsely signing a nominating petition – a misdemeanor. Seewald, on the other hand, pleaded guilty to nine counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator.

One charge remains, however. Conspiracy to Commit a Legal Act in an Illegal Manner is still pending against both Seewald and Yowchuang. Judge Marie Braxton is expected to hear an argument on January 9, 2013, from Mr. Seewald’s attorney, Mark Mandell, to have this remaining felony charge dismissed. Mandell, a partner at the law firm Fausone Bohn, LLP, will face opposition from the Attorney General’s office when they oppose the motion in court.

A handful of other McCotter staffers have previously made pleas in regard to the petition scandal. Members include Lorianne O’Brady, a former scheduler for the congressman, who pleaded no contest to five counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator. She has been sentenced to 20 days in jail or in a work program. Further, O’Brady will serve probation for 18 months following the sentence, and she has been ordered to pay over $2,000 in fines.

One member of McCotter’s staff still faces criminal charges. Mary Melissa Turnbull, who is scheduled to appear for a Pre-Trial hearing on January 8, 2013, has been charged with one count of Conspiracy to Commit a Legal Act in an Illegal Manner and one count of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator.

These convictions have come as a result of Attorney General Schuette’s creation of the Public Integrity Unit in 2011. Since its creation, the unit has filed over 200 charges in various cases involving corruption at both the state and local levels. The unit continues to pursue convictions in such fraud and corruption cases.

If you have questions regarding fraud or other legal issues, please contact Mark Mandell at (248) 380-0000 or online at FB-Firm.com. To learn more about this court case, please visit MLive and Michigan Legislature websites.