Ex-Rep. Inman may again face bribes, extortion charges, court rules

Former Michigan State Rep. Larry Inman could face a new trial after the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturned a lower court’s decision to dismiss bribery and corruption charges. extortion.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker ruled in 2021 that Inman’s constitutional rights to speech would be violated and he could be barred from retrial by the Constitution’s double jeopardy clause if he faced another trial for solicitation of bribes and attempted extortion.

The charges were dismissed after Inman, a Republican from Williamsburg in Grand Traverse County, was acquitted of lying to the FBI. A jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the dismissed charges.

In order for the acquittal not to violate double jeopardy, prosecutors “must be prevented from retrying the other counts,” Jonker said in 2021.

In a decision filed Thursday, Sixth Circuit Judge John K. Bush said the lower court erred in dismissing both charges.

“At a new trial, a jury must … decide whether Inman actually extorted or attempted to solicit such an agreement — a question the first jury’s acquittal did not answer” for lying to the FBI, said Bush. “Inman’s acquittal by the jury for making a false statement to the FBI does not preclude a new trial on the two remaining counts.”

The court remanded the case “for a procedure in accordance with this decision”.

The decision means Inman can be tried for allegedly trying to get union lobbyists to buy his 2018 vote on the repeal of the state’s current wage law, which sets wage standards for projects. state-funded construction.

The maximum sentence for the extortion charge is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The bribery charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, according to court documents.

Prosecutors focused on text messages Inman allegedly sent to Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights lobbyists seeking $30,000 for campaigns, The Detroit News reported.

During his trial, Inman argued that “he only engaged in lawful campaign activity, albeit clumsily,” Bush said. After the trial, Inman maintained his innocence.

A lawyer for Inman could not immediately be reached on Sunday for comment. A call to the Justice Department was not immediately returned.

Inman said after Jonker’s 2021 decision he was relieved, praising the judge for protecting his constitutional rights and the integrity of the jury system.

“I am so thrilled and happy that the judge has decided to dismiss both charges,” Inman said at the time. “I don’t have much faith in the federal justice system other than judge and jury.”

House Republicans removed him from the House GOP caucus and committee assignments after he was indicted. He was asked to resign but refused, and a recall attempt against him failed after the state rejected thousands of signatures after the petitions lacked a key word.

hharding@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Hayley__Harding

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