Mich. AG to join probe of judge over affair
The Michigan Attorney General's Office will investigate the alleged wrongdoing of a Livingston County judge accused of, among many things, having an affair with a Michigan State Trooper who was a star witness in a murder case the judge presided over, the state agency announced Tuesday.
"Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today informed the Michigan State Police that at the end of their investigation into allegations of impropriety by Livingston County District Court Judge Theresa Brennan, his Criminal Division will review the evidence to determine if there were criminal wrongdoings by the judge,'' according to a press release issued Tuesday by Schuette's office.
Schuette said he has provided support to the Michigan State Police, which has an active investigation into the matter.
"We are conducting a criminal investigation that began in (January 2017)," said MSP spokeswoman Shanon Banner. "The investigation is active and ongoing. I cannot speculate on when it will be completed."
Brennan, of 53rd District Court, has been charged by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission with judicial misconduct and has been barred from hearing cases in the court pending the conclusion of the judicial proceedings against her.
Last month, the Michigan Supreme Court appointed a retired Wayne County Circuit Court judge, Judge William J. Giovan, to serve as a fact-finder, in the commission's disciplinary proceedings against Brennan.
Brennan was formally charged by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission of judicial misconduct and giving the "appearance of impropriety" in a multiple-court complaint that was released in early June. Brennan is accused of having an affair with a Michigan State Police detective-sergeant who was a key witness in a murder trial Brennan was overseeing.
The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission alleges that Brennan had engaged in conduct "that violated her obligations under the Michigan Canons of Judicial Conduct and the Michigan Rules of Conduct."
The commission said Brennan had "substantial contact" with State Police Detective Sgt. Sean Furlong, who was a witness against Jerome Walter Kowalski, who was convicted in the 2008 murders of his brother and sister-in-law. Kowalski is serving a life sentence.
In its complaint, the commission said Brennan's contact with the officer included social outings such as dinner and drinks at bars and restaurants as well as shopping trips and sporting events.
Brennan also is accused of impropriety for failing to disclose close social relationships with an attorney and a court employee whose cases came before the judge.
The commission added that Brennan instructed court staff do personal tasks, such as making appointments for manicures and waxing, while on court time.