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Former Thaddeus McCotter Staffers in Court Thursday

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Two former staffers of ex-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter are expected to learn Thursday whether they will go to trial for allegedly filing fraudulent ballot petitions on behalf of the Michigan Republican’s re-election bid.

McCotter, who resigned his seat in July and has since avoided public appearances, could also testify at the staffers’ preliminary examination in Livonia District Court. A source confirmed to Roll Call that the defense team has included the former Congressman on the list of witnesses who could be subpoenaed.

The Detroit Free Press also reported that Mark Mandell, the attorney for one of the staffers being charged with petition fraud, said he expects McCotter to confirm on the witness stand that neither he nor Mandell’s client, then-district director Paul Seewald, were aware of any wrongdoing.

“Everyone will find out that the congressman was unaware of the petition situation and so was my client,” Mandell told the newspaper.

McCotter formally dropped his re-election bid in June after filing only about a quarter of the requisite 1,000 valid signatures to get on the Aug. 7 primary ballot. His petitions were rife with errors and duplications, and the state attorney general launched an investigation soon after.

Following a 10-week investigation, McCotter staffers Seewald, Don Yowchuang, Mary Melissa Turnbull and Lorianne O’Brady were charged with misconduct in August.

Yowchuang will appear Thursday in court with Seewald.

Turnbull was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner and one count of falsely signing a nominating petition.

O’Brady pleaded no contest in September to a misdemeanor charge of falsely signing a nominating petition.

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