Grand Jury to investigate #bolgerschmidtfraud

Gongwer is reporting that the Ingham Circuit Court has voted to empanel a one-person Grand Jury to investigate #bolgerschmidtfraud.

Rhonda Swayze, Ingham County deputy circuit court administrator, said the order, dated Monday was approved by a majority of the court’s judges and that Judge Rosemarie Aquilina will lead the grand jury.

Gongwer will be adding details in the Michigan Report later today.

Less awesome information over the jump …

Senator Whitmer and Mark Brewer requested the Grand Jury after evidence popped up that Bolger & Schmidt conspired to commit perjury.

For posterity’s sake, here is the letter sent by Jase Bolger the following letter to the Ingham Circuit Court in response to Whitmer’s & Brewer’s petition:

August 27, 2012

Honorable Laura Baird
Circuit Judge, Family Division
Veterans Memorial Courthouse
313 W. Kalamazoo Street
Lansing, MI 48933

Honorable R. George Economy
Chief Judge Probate Court
Veterans Memorial Courthouse
313 W. Kalamazoo Street
Lansing, MI 48933

Honorable Richard J. Garcia
Circuit Judge, Family Division
Veterans Memorial Courthouse
313 W. Kalamazoo Street
Lansing, MI 48933

Honorable Janelle A. Lawless
Chief Judge Circuit Court
Veterans Memorial Courthouse
313 W. Kalamazoo Street
Lansing, MI 48933

Honorable William E. Collette
Circuit Judge, General Trial Division
Ingham County Courthouse
315 S. Jefferson • Mason, MI 48854

Honorable Rosemarie E. Aquilina
Circuit Judge, General Trial Division
Veterans Memorial Courthouse
313 W. Kalamazoo Street
Lansing, MI 48933

Honorable Clinton Canady III
Circuit Judge, General Trial Division
Veterans Memorial Courthouse
313 W. Kalamazoo Street
Lansing, MI 48933

Honorable Joyce Draganchuk
Chief Judge Pro Tempore, Circuit Court
Veterans Memorial Courthouse
313 W. Kalamazoo Street
Lansing, MI 48933

Honorable Paula J. M. Manderfield
Presiding Judge General Trial Division
Veterans Memorial Courthouse
313 W. Kalamazoo Street
Lansing, MI 48933

Re: In the Matter of the Complaint and Petition of Mark Brewer and Gretchen Whitmer for a Judicial Investigation.

To the Judges of the 30th Judicial Circuit:

Senate Democrat Leader Whitmer’s and Democrat Party Chairman Brewer’s (collectively, “Petitioners”) filing in this matter is clearly and unequivocally politically motivated and for political purposes. With respect to the Court and due to the facts of the case, I ask that the Court recognize that this matter has been thoroughly investigated by the appropriate officer of the Court who determined that no (emphasis added) laws were broken. The Court’s valuable resources should not be tasked with continuing a political goose chase for crimes that have not been substantiated after significant inquiry and investigation and that, in any case, have little or no nexus to Ingham County.

While I and others have repeatedly and openly answered all questions regarding this issue; and, since Petitioners have seen three reviews or investigations completed, it cannot be reasonably stated that this matter contains unanswered questions – the Petitioners filed this for an additional press hit. The granting of this petition will do nothing to advance justice and simply serves to score political points for the Petitioners.

This petition should be denied because exhaustive investigations have already occurred in the appropriate jurisdictions based upon the exact “evidence” that Petitioners ask you, independently, to review again.

Numerous Investigations Have Already Been Completed

This matter has been reviewed or investigated by three different bodies who each possess appropriate jurisdiction:

The Secretary of State dismissed a campaign finance complaint filed by Petitioner Brewer on June 8, 2012, finding no basis for his claim.

Prosecutor Forsyth, as the Prosecutor from the county in which the involved paperwork was completed and filed, in working with the Michigan State Police, conducted a thorough and complete investigation. On July 17, 2012, Prosecutor Forsyth released what many have called a scathing but thorough report. His conclusion is certainly harsh about the politics involved, but also clearly states that after a thorough investigation “I can find no violation of the Michigan Election Law beyond Mr. Mojak’s [sic] attesting to the accuracy of the information on his Affidavit of Identity.”

When search warrants were canceled by the State Police, based upon the completion of the investigation, Prosecutor Forsyth stated specifically to the State Police’s Investigator, on July 16, “that no charges would be authorized as no clear criminal statute had been violated.”

And while Petitioners claim that “completion” was premature because of the outstanding search warrants, Prosecutor Forsyth stated on August 14, 2012 that “it is not appropriate and is a bad use of the time of investigators at the State Police to have them continue to research something when there was no crime.” Further, the Michigan State Police’s spokesperson, Shanon Banner, was quoted as saying (about the canceled search warrants):

[I]t’s not an uncommon situation in an investigation, and that state police were OK with Forsyth’s decision. “There comes a point when the prosecutor says ‘I have what I need’,” . . . . Banner said that while warrants were pending in the case, state police would not characterize the investigation as unfinished.

The prosecutor found no evidence that I lied, nor encouraged anyone else to falsify information because I never did any such thing. To the contrary, the prosecutor found evidence that many of the people named in Petitioners’ almost-20-page document sought advice of legal counsel during the actions in question; this is clearly because everyone sought to follow the law. In fact, records already published showed when presented an opportunity to encourage a false case be put forward, those involved in this unfortunate situation did not. While initial questions surfaced about the address in question, I was later advised that the candidate filing to run in this case was indeed living at the residence. These facts were indeed a part of Prosecutor Forsyth’s investigation.

On August 4, 2012, Rep. Lisa Brown requested that the non-partisan House Business office review this matter for violations of House rules. On August 8, 2012, the House Business Office found that there was no evidence that any House rule was broken.

A fourth investigation remains open at this time with the Secretary of State. This again is based on a filing from Petitioner Brewer. While Secretary Johnson has not yet ruled, those named in the Petition again fully cooperated and answered all questions asked in advance of their due date.

A fifth investigation would not change the conclusions already reached by Prosecutor Forsyth and the Secretary of State.

Jurisdiction Does Not Lie in Ingham County

While the putative Defendants deny that there is anything to investigate further, based upon the significant investigations already completed, a grand jury may only investigate crimes that occur within the territorial jurisdiction of the Circuit Court where the grand jury has been empaneled. Under MCL 767.3, whenever a request for a one-man grand jury is filed, the Court may issue an order directing an inquiry into the complaint contained within the request if the Court has “probable cause to suspect that any crime, offense or misdemeanor has been committed within his jurisdiction.” (Emphasis added.)

In Petition of Hickerson, the Supreme Court stated “that the controlling element was the territorial jurisdiction of the court conducting the grand jury, not the limitations upon the court’s power to hear and determine criminal cases.” Moreover, as the Court of Appeals noted in People v Riley, “Traditionally and presently, criminal prosecutions have been and are conducted in the county where the crime occurred, and proof of venue is an essential element of the prosecution’s case . . . .”

Thus, it is clear that a judge in the Ingham County Circuit Court has jurisdiction to act as a one-man grand jury only when the suspected criminal offense occurred within the circuit’s territory. And while Petitioners have made broad generalizations that “[t]he suspected crimes alleged in this Complaint and Petition were committed in Ingham County, in Calhoun County, in Kent County, and perhaps others counties in the State of Michigan,” there is absolutely zero evidence, let alone probable cause to believe, that any crimes occurred within the jurisdiction of this honorable Court.

A One-Person Grand Jury May Not Be Used For Fishing Expeditions

Despite Petitioners’ attempts to argue that Prosecutor Forsyth failed to review other laws besides Michigan’s Election Law, that is simply not true. Prosecutor Forsyth said “that no charges would be authorized as no clear criminal statute had been violated.” Additionally, as reported in numerous press accounts, Prosecutor Forsyth reviewed, researched, and investigated numerous potential crimes including perjury, conspiracy to commit perjury, and other potential criminal acts. The fact that a thorough and vast investigation has been done is a distinguishing fact from other recent invocations of one-person grand juries (see Oakland County, 2011), where no investigation had been done. This distinction makes clear that such a request here and now, is but a fishing expedition. Michigan law does not permit grand juries to be used for such purposes.

In distinguishing the current version of the statute from a previous one, the Court of Appeals stated that: “No longer does the statute permit a grand juror to search out criminal conduct generally but, instead, it requires the order authorizing the inquiry, and the complaint upon which such order is based, to ‘be specific to common intent of the scope of the inquiry.” Similarly, in People v Morris, the Court of Appeals noted that no such specificity requirement was included in the statute authorizing multicounty citizens’ grand juries, which are codified at MCL 767.7e, stating, “Keeping in mind the dual statutory scheme, we must assume that the Legislature has purposefully chosen to place a specificity requirement on the workings of the one-man grand jury, but not on a multicounty citizens’ grand jury.” The Court of Appeals further declared “[t]hat the Legislature enacted the [multicounty grand jury] law despite assertions that it would enable relatively broad investigations to be conducted suggests that the multicounty grand jury was intended to be a form of citizens’ grand jury and that its scope was not to be limited in a manner similar to the one-man grand jury.”

Prosecutor Forsyth recognized the need to keep the investigation to actual crimes when he stated (in defense of his investigation): “‘I have no doubt the Democratic Party would love to see what he [Speaker Bolger] had sent out in terms of text messages to people.’ However, ‘that’s not an appropriate use of the State Police.’”

If it is not clear alone from the far-reaching and disparate allegations by Petitioners, this wild goose chase that Petitioners ask you to embark on involves so many potential people that even Petitioners chose not to name them all. The Court should refuse this invitation.

The One-Person Grand Jury is Inappropriate in this Case

The statute Petitioners seek to use in this case was created for instances where a conflict of interest might exist, or a prosecutor might not otherwise be able or willing to pursue an investigation. In fact, Peter Henning, a Wayne State University Law Professor and former federal Prosecutor was recently quoted as saying: “Normally you don’t duplicate the actions of a prosecutor’s office[.]” He continued: “The whole idea of a one-man grand jury is to clean up cases or where there’s been a case of conflict of interest.”

In this case, a competent and determined Kent County Prosecutor did thoroughly investigate this matter and there have been no allegations of conflict of interest. While Petitioners’ political interests might be served by continuing this matter, it is clear that the public interest would not.

Conclusion

Therefore, on behalf of the putative defendants in this case (without intent to speak for them or in lieu of them), in recognition of the many reviews and investigations into this matter by the appropriate bodies, in the correct jurisdiction, and in the interest of the public as well as our judicial system, I respectfully request that this court reject the Petitioners’ filing.

Respectfully,

Jase Bolger
Speaker of the House

cc: Petitioner Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Minority Leader
Petitioner Mark Brewer, Michigan Democratic Party Chairman

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