Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson filed a petition Friday asking for a one-person grand jury to investigate allegations of election fraud involving the group Tea Party, which is seeking political party status on the November ballot.
The 49-page filing asks that a grand jury be impaneled to determine if there is probable cause that individuals committed perjury, forgery, obstruction of justice and violation of the Michigan Notary Act.
“We have to follow some rules,” Patterson said. “We have to set forth a basis to impanel. We have to basically establish a prima facia case to launch an investigation and create an issue of probable cause to show wrong doing."
Patterson and other county officials called for a grand jury earlier this week to investigate candidate filings in three Oakland County races.
They alleged the documents were notarized by Oakland County Democratic Party worker Jason Bauer, who was roommates with party Chairman Mike McGuinness.
Both have resigned their county party posts.
They say the signatures of the candidates don’t match the signatures on their voter registrations, and in one race, a candidate wrote to say he hadn’t filed to run and was living out of state.
Once the petitions are filed, circuit judges, if they decide to impanel a grand jury, will sit down as a group and select one among themselves to serve as a grand juror for six months with a possibility of a six-month extension.
“It’s hard to imagine that Bauer was in this all by himself,” Patterson said. “This is why you need a grand jury, to compel testimony and grant immunity.
“You can spread the tentacles further apart with a grand jury,” Patterson said.
The Tea Party group's bid for political party status was denied in a split 2-2 vote of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, although an appeal of that decision is expected.
Both Republicans and tea party organizations opposed the Tea Party group's bid.
Republicans have alleged the group is a ploy by Democrats to split Republican votes in November.
Contact staff writer Charles Crumm at 248-745-4649, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @crummc.