Former congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) is suing two former aides over what turned out to be fraudulent ballot petitions that resulted in McCotter's surprise retirement and resignation last year.

The former long-shot presidential candidate says the aides deliberately tried to prevent him from seeking reelection by submitting the faulty petitions.

From the Associated Press:

Ex-Michigan U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter has sued a former top aide and an ex-intern, saying they deliberately submitted forged nominating petitions in his name to keep him from seeking re-election, the Livonia Republican's lawyer said Thursday.

McCotter lawyer David Ottenwess said he filed the suit Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court against Don Yowchuang and Dillon Breen. Yowchuang, 34, was McCotter's deputy district director, and Breen, 20, was a student intern working for the congressman.

Elections officials discovered bogus signatures on the Livonia Republican's petitions, keeping him off the 2012 primary ballot. McCotter quit Congress in July. Yowchuang pleaded no-contest to forgery charges and was sentenced Jan. 18 to probation and community service. Breen was not charged.

In a statement, Ottenwess said the two men "purposefully submitted forged petitions in order to keep McCotter off the ballot and, thereby, denying him the opportunity to appear on the August 2012 Republican Primary ballot." The lawyer said he said he would use the subpoena power in the civil proceeding to "get to the bottom of what really happened to sabotage ... McCotter."