Conspiracy charges dropped against Thaddeus McCotter staffers

Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:19:14 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 18 2013 02:00:01 PM EST

Don Yowchuang

DETROIT -

A Wayne County judge dismissed charges of conspiracy against a former staff member for former U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter on Friday.

McCotter's former district director Paul Seewald, 47, of Livonia, had already pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, falsely signing a nominating petition as a circulator. Judge Margie Braxton sentenced Seewald to two years of probation on those nine counts.

She also sentenced 33-year-old Don Yowchuang of Famington Hills three years of probation after pleading no contest to 10 counts of forgery and six counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as a circulator.

Yowchuang worked as McCottger's former deputy district director. Both men must also perform community service. Seewald was sentenced to 100 hours of community service while Yowchuang was sentenced to 200 hours. They must also pay all court costs and fees.

Attorney General Schuette responded to the sentences by saying, "The message here is very clear - if you break the law, there are consequences.  We’ll review the dismissal of the conspiracy charge and make a decision about appeal."

Lorianne O’Brady, 52, of Livonia, who worked as a scheduler to the former congressman, previously pleaded no contest to five counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator. She was sentenced to 20 days in jail or 20 days in a work program and ordered to pay $2,625 in fines and court costs.

The forth person charged, Mary Melissa Turnbull, 58, of Howell, was bound over for trial in Oakland County Circuit court.

Schuette said the former congressman was "asleep at the switch."

McCotter resigns following signature snafu

The republican turned in 2,000 signatures on May 15, but a review found many of the signatures were duplicates and out of date. Only a couple hundred appeared valid.

He needed 1,000.

After he was told he wouldn't make the August primary ballot because of the failed requirement, McCotter had initially said he would run as a write-in candidate. But he announced his resignation in July.

The Republican from Livonia had served five terms in the 11th Congressional District.

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