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Attorneys grapple with 'Diminished Capacity' defense for Inman trial

Michigan House of Representatives

State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) is accused of extortion, soliciting a bribe and lying to the FBI. He has plead not guilty to all charges.

The trial is set for August 6 in Grand Rapids.

Prosecutors say Inman texted a lobbyist from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (MRCCM) in June 2018 and offered to vote ‘no’ on a prevailing wage bill if MRCCM and other trade unions would donate more to his campaign.

“We never had this discussion,” Inman wrote to the lobbyist at the end of one text message.

His trial is scheduled to start in August in Grand Rapids, but prosecutors want it delayed by 30 days.

"It is in the public’s best interest for the government and its expert to have an adequate opportunity to review the voluminous evidence in this case before trial," they wrote in a motion to the court.

Prosecutors want more time to look at Inman's "Diminished Capacity" defense. Inman's Attorney Chris Cooke says his client is seeking treatment for the long-term use of prescribed pain medication. Cooke argues that Inman couldn't have intentionally solicited a bribe while under the influence of that medication.

"You can't be accused of soliciting a bribe if you sent out some text message you don't even remember," Cooke said. 

Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina Colin Miller says a diminished capacity defense involves proving the defendant had clouded or impaired judgement.

"It's simply saying that based on my mental defect, I either didn't understand what I was doing or I couldn't have the requisite mental state that forms an element of the crime," Miller said.

The pre-trial conference is scheduled for Friday, July 19.