Michigan recall petitioners charged with forging signatures
LIVONIA, Michigan: An effort to recall Andy Dillon that failed at the ballot may have serious consequences for two of its circulators. 28 year old Michael Bastianelli of Westland, MI and 39 year old Harvey Robinson of Redford, MI were arraigned on December 23, 2009 on two felony counts. The criminal charges are due to allegations of faking signatures on the recall petitions.
The recall effort was launched in an attempt to remove Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon from office after he voted in favor of the biggest tax hike in Michigan history. Michigan State Police were asked in May 2008 to investigate whether some circulators were forging signatures. According to State Police Officer Robert Weimer: "We don't anticipate any other charges coming down. It's been reviewed by the attorney general's office, and this is the decision."
The Andy Dillon recall petition drive also led to a federal lawsuit called Bogaert v. Land challenging Michigan's residency requirement; a federal judge determined that Michigan's laws did violate the U.S. Constitution and ordered a preliminary injunction that allowed signatures from petitioners outside of Dillon's jurisdiciton.