Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon is pushing back over the idea that he has drawn federal scrutiny in a public corruption probe, saying Monday night that he’s received assurances from the federal government that he’s not a target.
Napoleon’s name, along with other Metro Detroit public officials and politicians, appeared in records filed in federal court on a list of “target subjects” in a corruption probe that has spread from Macomb County to Wayne County and Detroit. The federal wiretap documents were reported by The Detroit News in December.
"I have been in contact with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and I have been assured that I am not the target or subject of any federal corruption investigation,” Napoleon said in a statement Monday night sent by his campaign communications director, Tiffani C. Jackson.
“Any further mention, suggestion, innuendo, association or assertion, etc., of my name connected to such investigation by the media, would be totally false."
The FBI was investigating crimes in connection with Detroit towing mogul Gasper Fiore or others. The “target subjects” document was revealed in court records obtained by The News.
Napoleon, a former Detroit police chief and sheriff since 2009, said in December that he was unaware he had been named in the filing, which had been temporarily unsealed in federal court. Of the public officials listed, only former Detroit deputy police chief Celia Washington has been charged with a crime in connection with the investigation.
The ongoing corruption investigation has led to 13 convictions so far. The court filings were temporarily unsealed days after Fiore struck a plea deal with prosecutors, admitting he bribed former Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Napoleon’s statement.