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Hall to have his day in court

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:53 PM

A preliminary examination hearing for the felony charges against Brandon Hall scheduled for Thursday was canceled.

Hall's attorney, Don Hann of Holland, said there are no "factual disputes" in the case, so the preliminary exam was unnecessary.

Instead, Hann and the state Attorney General’s Office will prepare briefs on the case, which will be turned over to Holland District Judge Bradley Knoll. Hann said that will likely happen in about 10 days or so, and oral arguments will be heard about four days later.

Hann said he has asked for the felony charges to be downgraded to misdemeanor charges.

The investigation by the Attorney General’s Office centered on fraudulent signatures on a ballot petition for a Grand Haven attorney, Chris Houghtaling, who was running last year for a vacant Ottawa County 58th District Court post.  Houghtaling was removed from the ballot after the petition signatures were flagged by the Attorney General’s Office.

Judicial candidates had to submit a required number of signatures from registered voters in the county by May 1, 2012, to be on the primary ballot that August. Some of the signatures on Houghtaling's petition were deemed invalid, and he fell below the required number of 1,000 to get his name on the ballot, election officials said.

The circulator at the center of the ballot controversy was Hall, a former member of the Grand Haven school board.

Hall resigned from the school board in 2010 after being convicted of stealing several hundred dollars from a school-sanctioned fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Hall signed his name as the circulator for nearly half of Houghtaling’s 90 petition pages, according to a story from the MIRS News service.

“It appeared that one or more individuals signed multiple times under different names,” Fred Woodhams, spokesman for the Secretary of State office, said in the article.

Hall, 23, said he has been living in Los Angeles and working on a political campaign, and had returned to Grand Haven for his court case. He hopes to return to California when the case is resolved.

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