Prosecutors say they have new evidence for potential retrial of Larry Inman

Mar 18, 2020

In a brief filed Tuesday, federal prosecutors say they have new evidence for a possible retrial of State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg). At his original trial last year, Inman was found not guilty of lying to the F.B.I., but the jury couldn't reach a verdict on two other corruption charges.

During the trial in December, Inman testified that he faced political pressure from other lawmakers to switch his vote on Michigan's prevailing wage law.

"It was tearing me apart," Inman said.

Inman said several republican lawmakers, including Representatives Joe Bellino (R-Monroe), Steve Marino (R-Macomb) and former Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard, pressured him to change his vote.

Federal prosecutors say they have now interviewed those lawmakers, who say those conversations either didn't happen or didn't unfold the way Inman claims.

"In light of this new evidence, the government is entitled to a retrial to ensure that a new jury is provided the opportunity to consider this new evidence, compare it to the defendant’s prior sworn testimony (and any explanation offered by the defendant, if he elects to testify at the retrial), and determine whether his testimony as to any matter should be believed," prosecutors said in a brief.

Inman's attorney Chris Cooke has yet to respond to the brief. In an interview with IPR in February, Cooke said being acquitted of lying to the F.B.I. means Inman shouldn't face a retrial on the remaining charges.

"If he's not lying about saying 'hey I didn't do that,' doesn't that impact counts one and counts two as well?" Cooke said.

Cooke has until April 16 to respond to the prosecution's brief. Federal Court Judge Robert Jonker said in an order that after a partial acquittal and mistrial for Inman last year, he's not entirely convinced he should go to court again either.

"In mixed verdict cases, there are difficult questions about the scope of the acquittal and what, in particular, may be precluded as a factual matter during retrial," Jonker said in a brief.

If Inman does go back to trial, Jonker says it's likely to happen this summer when the state legislature is in recess.