A few days before Thanksgiving 2020, a half-dozen or so people gathered at the home of a Michigan lawyer named Robert E. Norton II.
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Norton is the general counsel of Hillsdale College, a small, conservative Christian school in the southern part of the state. One of his guests was Ian Northon, a Hillsdale alumnus and private lawyer who did work for the college. Also in attendance were a couple of state lawmakers, Beth Griffin and Julie Alexander, who represented conservative districts north of Detroit.
Northon would later describe the meeting to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol. “Somebody at Hillsdale reached out to me, said they are going to have this little meeting,” he testified. “I went to it. There were a handful of reps there, and then Giuliani called in.” That, of course, was Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor turned personal lawyer to President Donald J. Trump.
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