Guilty, no contest pleas for 2 in McCotter probe
Convictions for 2 ex-aides in McCotter's Michigan election scandal involving phony signatures
A former top aide to a Detroit-area congressman has pleaded no contest to forgery in an election scandal involving bogus petition signatures.
Don Yowchuang, 33, of Farmington Hills, was deputy district director to then-U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, a Republican from Livonia.
Yowchuang admits making copies of petition signatures to try to qualify McCotter for the August primary election.
Yowchuang pleaded no contest Tuesday to 10 felony counts of forgery in Wayne County Circuit Court. He faces up to 17 months in prison.
In May, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette launced a fraud investigation into the nominating petitions filed on behalf of the former Congressman.
Separately, McCotter former district director Paul Seewald, 47, of Livonia, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, falsely signing a nominating petition as a circulator.
Seewald and Yowchuang will continue to fight a conspiracy charge. A judge will hear arguments Jan. 9.
Lorianne O’Brady, 52, of Livonia, who worked as a scheduler to the former congressman, previously pleaded no contest to five counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator. She was sentenced to 20 days in jail or 20 days in a work program and ordered to pay $2,625 in fines and court costs.
"As Attorney General, I have a responsibility to enforce the law and ensure public integrity,” said Attorney General Bill Schuette "After a thorough investigation, my office determined that criminal acts were committed, and the appropriate criminal charges were filed. We will continue to prosecute those involved with this disgraceful violation of the public trust."
The forth person charged, Mary Melissa Turnbull, 58, of Howell, was bound over for trial in Oakland County Circuit court.
She will face charges in January.
Schuette said the former congressman was "asleep at the switch."
McCotter didn't make the ballot and quit Congress in July.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.