McCotter staffers want charges tossed

Jan. 9, 2013 at 5:46 PM
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DETROIT, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Two convicted staffers of former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan will ask a judge to dismiss felony conspiracy charges in a petition fraud case.

McCotter's former deputy district director, Don Yowchuang, 33, and Paul Seewald, 47, a former classmate of McCotter's, will ask Wayne County, Mich., Circuit Judge Margie Braxton to dismiss a felony count with a five-year sentence Jan. 18, The Detroit News reported Wednesday.

The hearing and sentencing comes after the two men entered pleas that cost McCotter his career in Congress, the newspaper said.

Seewald pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts for falsely signing petitions, and Yowchuang pleaded no contest to 10 felony and 6 misdemeanor counts.

A felony charge against Seewald remains unresolved, and his lawyer, Mark Mandell, said he is prepared to proceed to trial if Braxton does not drop the charge.

A criminal investigation was launched into McCotter's election petition drive after the five-term congressman failed to have his name on the Aug. 7 primary ballot due to duplication and forgery of signatures. Candidates were required to submit at least 1,000 signatures to qualify for a spot on the ballot; McCotter submitted 2,000 but only 244 were deemed valid, the newspaper said.

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