Didn't know petition signatures were forged, McCotter testifies - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Didn't know petition signatures were forged, McCotter testifies

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(Credit: Maurielle Lue|WJBK) (Credit: Maurielle Lue|WJBK)

By Maurielle Lue
FOX 2 News Reporter


Disgraced former congressman Thaddeus McCotter took the stand Thursday in the conspiracy and fraud case involving two former campaign staffers.  They're accused of forging signatures in a move that cost McCotter his congressional career.  McCotter claimed he had no idea it was happening.

McCotter didn't seem too pleased about making his first public statements about signature fraud after being kicked off the ballot.  He wasn't kind to the media, and as soon as his testimony was over, he disappeared.

Saving it all for the courtroom, McCotter ignored the media as he walked into 16th District Court in Livonia to testify about the scandal that ended his nearly ten-year congressional career.

Paul Seewald and Don Yowchuang, two McCotter staffers, are charged with forgery, conspiracy, and multiple felonies over a collection of false petition signatures submitted for the 2012 congressional race.

McCotter testified as to why he encouraged staffers to get more than the necessary 1,000 signatures.

"If you don't file 2,000, your opponent could come through and say that you're losing support in the district, and you've also cheated yourself of the opportunity to get more names to be inputted into databases, more voter contacts."

McCotter said it was Yowchuang, not his longtime friend Seewald, who was delegated the responsibility of collecting signatures and that he didn't know the signatures were forged, faked, and photo copied.

"If we were short, why (not) just tell us so we go out and get them?  To me, it was just like why?  Why are we even at this point when this is something that is just... so routine," said McCotter.

Of McCotter's 2,000 signatures, only 244 were valid.  Many names were duplicates, cut and pasted from petitions from 2006.  

The ex-congressman didn't stick around to hear any testimony after his own.  He scoffed at reporter questions, and his lawyer offered a statement.

"He is not offering any public statement at this time other than what he has testified to in court.  He's cooperating.  He has always cooperated with the attorney general's office in this investigation.  That's all he is going to say," the attorney offered.

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