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Ex-Livingston County judge Brennan pleads guilty to perjury

George Hunter
The Detroit News

A former Livingston County judge pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying under oath, six months after she was removed from the bench for multiple ethics violations.

Former 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan pleaded guilty to perjury, a 15-year felony, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced.

Two other lesser charges against Brennan, misconduct in office and tampering with evidence, were dropped.

"Her guilty plea will require her to notify the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission of her criminal conviction, which may lead to future licensing sanctions, including the possibility of disbarment, against the embattled former judge," a press release from the Attorney General's Office said.

Former Livingston County Judge Theresa Brennan

The Michigan Supreme Court removed Brennan from office in June, after charges of judicial misconduct were filed and heard by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission.

"This defendant violated the very tenets we as a society hold dear: truth, honor and justice," Nessel said in Tuesday's release. "She made a mockery of her oath of office and undermined the integrity of the bench.”

Dennis Kolenda, an attorney representing Brennan, did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

Livingston County judges recused themselves from hearing the case, which was assigned to Judge Paul Cusick of Wayne County Circuit Court. Sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 17.

In April, the Judicial Tenure Commission recommended that the state Supreme Court remove Brennan from the bench after the commission found she failed to disclose relationships with a state police detective and an attorney who had appeared before her; tampered with evidence in her divorce case; lied under oath; "was persistently impatient, undignified, and discourteous," and ordered employees to perform personal tasks during work hours.

The commission also recommended Brennan pay about $35,570 in costs and expenses for making misleading statements to the commission.

In a June ruling, the state's high court adopted the commission's recommendation to remove Brennan from the bench.

"The cumulative effect of respondent’s misconduct convinces this Court that respondent should not remain in judicial office," the ruling said. "Therefore, we remove respondent from office and conditionally suspend her without pay for a period of six years, with the suspension becoming effective only if respondent regains judicial office during that period."

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