Lawyer who filed election challenges charged in voting machine probe
Stefanie Lambert, a Michigan lawyer who's worked on lawsuits challenging the 2020 presidential election, is facing four criminal charges in Oakland County, including undue possession of a voting machine, after an investigation by a special prosecutor.
Lambert, who filed a lawsuit in December 2020 alleging "massive election fraud" without providing evidence of it, is scheduled to be arraigned before Oakland County Circuit Judge Jeffery Matis at 1 p.m. Thursday. In addition to undue possession of a voting machine, other charges Lambert faces include conspiracy to commit unauthorized access to a computer system.
The charges against Lambert became public Thursday when they appeared in Oakland County court records. She's the third individual to be named as a defendant by special prosecutor D.J. Hilson, who has been probing for nearly a year an alleged conspiracy to obtain, examine and break into voting tabulators.
On Tuesday, former Republican attorney general candidate Matt DePerno and ex-state Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, were arraigned on their own felony charges. A grand jury indicted the two political figures after listening to sworn testimony and analyzing evidence, said Hilson, Muskegon County's prosecutor.
In August 2022, Attorney General Dana Nessel sought a special prosecutor to handle the case because, at the time, she was running against DePerno for a second term. Nessel won the race by 9 percentage points in November.
Nessel's office said DePerno, Rendon and Lambert were part of a larger group of nine people who engaged in a "conspiracy" to gain improper access to voting machines as they sought to undermine Republican Donald Trump's loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
The group's efforts involved convincing local clerks in Michigan to hand over tabulators, taking the tabulators to hotels or rental properties in Oakland County, breaking into the machines, printing "fake ballots" and performing "tests" on the equipment, according to the Attorney General's office.
DePerno, Rendon and Lambert "orchestrated a coordinated plan to gain access to voting tabulators," the Attorney General's office has said. A clerk in Roscommon County told investigators Rendon indicated the Michigan House was "conducting an investigation" into election fraud, which wasn't true.
DePerno and Lambert, both lawyers, were two prominent figures in the push to spread false and unproven fraud claims after the 2020 election.
DePerno gained fame among Trump supporters by challenging election results in northern Michigan's Antrim County, where human errors caused the initial results to be incorrect. Lambert filed election-related lawsuits and pushed to audit equipment. On Dec. 6, 2020, she signed an unsuccessful lawsuit in Michigan, alleging "massive election fraud." Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf was one of the plaintiffs.
Patrick Byrne, former CEO of Overstock.com, tweeted recently that he had funded Lambert's efforts "to the tune of millions of dollars."
Lambert of South Lyon was one of nine lawyers involved in another past lawsuit that attempted to overturn Michigan's 2020 presidential election. The suit was let by Texas attorney Sidney Powell, who described her election-related legal efforts as releasing the "Kraken."
The suit represented "a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process," U.S. District Judge Linda Parker said.
In April 2021, Lambert offered to send a team to Cheboygan County to do a so-called "forensic analysis" of the election in that county.
Lambert has criticized Hilson's investigation and contended that her actions were legal because the clerks provided access to the voting equipment.
However, in July, Oakland County Circuit Judge Phyllis McMillen ruled it was illegal for someone to take possession of a voting tabulator without authorization from the Secretary of State's office or a court order. Hilson sought the decision in a lawsuit against Lambert.
Lambert's lawyer, Michael J. Smith, has said his client intends to sue Hilson for malicious prosecution.