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Judge dismisses remaining corruption charges against Larry Inman

Conner Desilets
Interlochen Public Radio

Former State Representative Larry Inman is close to being a free man after a federal judge dropped the two remaining corruption charges against him: extortion and soliciting a bribe.

“Getting the news that it’s over after everything I’ve been through, it’s like a state of disbelief,” Inman said.

On Monday, Federal Court Judge Robert Jonker ultimately agreed with Inman’s defense that because a jury previously found Inman not guilty of lying to the FBI, he should be acquitted on all of the charges.

“The Court agrees with the defense that to give full effect to the jury’s acquittal on [lying to the FBI], the government must be barred from retrying the other counts,” Jonker wrote. “The Court agrees that on the highly unique facts and law involved in this case, retrial of the attempted extortion and solicitation of a bribe charges would be inappropriate.”

Inman, Traverse City’s former lawmaker, was indicted on three corruption charges in 2019, when federal prosecutors accused him of trying to sell his vote. Inman was immediately stripped of nearly all his political power as lawmakers from both parties called for his resignation. Inman has maintained his innocence from the beginning.

His first criminal trial involved blunt testimony from lawmakers and lobbyists about Rep. Inman’s behavior, political skill and drug use. It ended in a rare and muddled solution: he was acquitted of one charge while a jury couldn’t decide on a verdict for the other two.

Prosecutor's attempts to take Inman back to court have been in limbo due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime Larry Inman returned to work in Lansing, where he couldn’t get much done before the Republican caucus quietly let him back in toward the end of his final term last year. 

U.S. prosecutors have several weeks to fight Judge Jonker’s dismissal, although that’s unlikely. Larry Inman is still on a recognizance bond for several weeks until that is settled, but says he’s already considering a future in the private sector or public service.

Max came to IPR in 2017 as an environmental intern. In 2018, he returned to the station as a reporter and quickly took on leadership roles as Interim News Director and eventually Assignment Editor. Before joining IPR, Max worked as a news director and reporter at Michigan State University's student radio station WDBM. In 2018, he reported on a Title IX dispute with MSU in his story "Prompt, Thorough and Impartial." His work has also been heard on Michigan Radio, WDBM and WKAR in East Lansing and NPR.