According to a disclosure by The New York Times, James Renner, a 77-year-old linked to the purported “false elector” plot in Michigan post the 2020 election, has conveyed regret for his involvement. Renner stands as the only one among the 16 individuals charged, whose legal accusations were dropped following a collaborative agreement with the Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office in October.
The remaining 15 accused parties, who entered not guilty pleas in August, are facing eight criminal charges. These allegations revolve around claims that they endorsed deceptive certificates in an attempt to redirect Michigan’s Electoral College votes from President Biden to former President Trump.
Renner, a retired state trooper and entrepreneur, joined the list of electors in December 2020. His inclusion came about when two others withdrew, prompting the leader of the Republican Party in Clinton County, Michigan, to approach him. Despite lacking prior experience as an elector, Renner had previously served as a volunteer for the Republican Party in his county.
In a recorded interview obtained by The New York Times, Renner informed the state attorney general’s office that his perspective changed after reviewing transcripts from the House’s investigation into the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack. He admitted to feeling deeply troubled by the departure from the legitimate electoral process and expressed being unwittingly involved in an inappropriate situation.
Renner conceded his lack of awareness about the official electoral process during the elector meeting on December 14, 2020. Initially placing trust in the authority figures present, he later realized that the actions taken were not legitimate. Upon discovering the correct procedures for electors, he felt used and profoundly betrayed.
This incident is part of a broader context, as similar accusations of “false electors” have emerged in Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. Investigations are ongoing in some of these states. Special Counsel Jack Smith referenced the scheme in the Department of Justice’s indictment of Trump in August, alleging efforts by Trump’s team to create a “fake controversy” to challenge the electoral results. However, then-Vice President Mike Pence did not endorse this plan.