Tlaib holds out for better deal on social spending, infrastructure bills

Ex-Council president Conyers works with Gentz lawyer

George Hunter
The Detroit News

During Bob Bashara’s hearing for a new trial Tuesday, the convicted murderer sat just feet away from another well-known felon: Former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers.

Conyers, who is a good friend of Vonda Evans, the presiding judge in the Bashara case, was in the coutroom with John Holler, attorney for handyman Joe Gentz, who originally said he killed Jane Bashara at Bob Bashara’s behest, only to retract his story.

Conyers works with Holler at Neighborhood Legal Services helping the homeless, he said. He added she had passed the bar exam in another state, and hoped to soon get her law license.

During an impromptu news conference outside Evans’ courtroom, Conyers said she just wants to get on with her life.

“Let it go; let me live my life,” she told reporters. “I want to be a productive citizen who gives back.”

Conyers said she wanted to be an attorney “since I was a little girl.

“I just know I like helping people. That’s my God-given talent: Helping people. I just won’t help people anymore to my detriment.”

The wife of longtime U.S. Rep. John Conyers, she made her own headlines in the City Council, most notably referring to former Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. as “Shrek.”

Conyers served one term before pleading guilty to corruption charges in 2010. She was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for taking a bribe in exchange for her vote on a $1 billion sludge-hauling deal.

During Conyers’ sentencing hearing, Evans was in the courtroom to show support for her.

Conyers was released from prison in 2013 and found work as a receptionist at a Corktown auto body shop.

Conyers said she already had her law degree prior to becoming a city councilwoman. “I went to grad school in Washington, D.C.,” she said, adding she knows of people who’ve committed crimes and still became lawyers.

In Michigan, convicted felons may submit a request to the state to earn a law license.

Conyers refused to say in which state she’d recently passed the bar exam. “I don’t want you all investigating my background and messing things up for me.”

GHunter@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2134

Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN