Bellaire, Michigan, USA - October 22, 2021: The Historic Antrim County Courthouse Roberto Galan/Shutterstock
Bellaire, Michigan, USA - October 22, 2021: The Historic Antrim County Courthouse

A Republican prosecutor in Antrim County said Trump’s team asked him to turn over voting machines. He declined because that’s illegal. 


Need to Know

  • Antrim County’s prosecutor recently revealed Trump’s lawyers asked him to turn over voting machines.
  • Legal experts agree the request was illegal.
  • Trump campaign officials tried to spin Antrim County, which is run by Republicans, as proof the election was stolen from him. 

ANTRIM COUNTY, Mich.—Telling Eminem to move to another country was somehow not the most fractious controversy for Rudy Giuliani in Michigan this month.

Well before the Detroit-born rapper’s Super Bowl halftime show, a rural Michigan county prosecutor told national media that the former Trump lawyer tried to circumvent the law and seize local voting machines.

“I can’t just say: give them here,” James Rossiter, prosecutor of Antrim County, told the Washington Post. “We don’t have that magical power to just demand things as prosecutors. You need probable cause.”

Rossiter, a Republican, butted heads with Trump legal advisers for refusing to turn over voting machines that Giuliani and his team wanted to frame as proof of election fraud that didn’t happen—as has been proved over and over again.

Legal experts have concurred with Rossiter that Giuliani’s request was illegal. Giuliani has since agreed to cooperate with the Jan. 6 congressional committee.

Antrim County, squeezed on the shoreline between Traverse City and Petoskey, is full of small towns and has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964. The county’s elected positions are swept by Republicans, including Rossiter and Sheryl Guy, the county clerk in charge of elections.

OTHER: ‘These Policies Do Attack Michigan Families’: Inside Betsy DeVos and the Michigan GOP’s War on Public Schools

“It’s no secret I run on the Republican ticket. But I told them, ‘It’s not about who wins or loses. It needs to be fair,’” Rossiter said, referring to Trump’s legal team.

The two officials found their county under siege by the Trump legal team the day following the election, after county returns showed 3,200 votes more for President Joe Biden. Knowing that something must have been amiss, Guy immediately issued a review of the election which she posted to the Antrim County Facebook page

In the days ahead, she found the source of the error: She had failed to update the computer database after a last-minute addition to the ballot, causing some votes to be counted for the wrong person. Trump had actually won the county by nearly 4,000 votes.

“I’m not a techie person,” Guy said to Time Magazine last December, apologizing profusely for the mistake.

MODERN POLITICS: Michigan Republicans Are Looking to Cut Taxes—But Much More for Corporations Than for Working Families

In the couple of days it took officials to find the source of the error and correct the count, conservative networks and the Trump campaign erroneously spun Antrim County—a locale won by Republicans and ran by Republicans—as proof of a stolen election. Elsewhere in the country, votes were still being counted by the time Antrim County had finalized its results.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson questioned last month whether the administration used the voting machine error in Antrim as reason for a proposed, never-delivered executive order that would have directed the National Guard to take voting machines.

By Jan. 6, a simple computer error that missorted some 7,000 votes and was corrected in days became a calling cry for insurrection, even brought up by Trump the morning of his so-called “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the invasion of the US Capitol.

“Nobody cares about what really happened. They are simply using us for their agenda,” Guy told the Washington Post.

YOUR VOTE MATTERS: ‘It’s About Controlling Who Votes’: The Michigan GOP’s Plan to Overhaul Voting Laws