Senator cleared of assault charge against Oakland clerk

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Howell — There is insufficient evidence to prove state Sen. Martin “Marty” Knollenberg assaulted Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown, the Livingston County prosecutor said Monday

Brown, 49, made an assault and battery complaint against Knollenberg, 52, last month during Oakland County Prosecutor L. Brooks Patterson’s State of the County address at a Pontiac hotel.

At the time, Brown complained Knollenberg, R-Troy, approached her and grabbed and squeezed her arm in a painful matter as she tried to leave the event. Brown filed a report with an Oakland County Sheriff’s deputy and was seen being escorted out of the Auburn Hills Marriott Pontiac hotel to her car by a deputy about an hour after Patterson finished his address.

“I think it is shameful that the Livingston County prosecutor has declined to prosecute,” Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “Misunderstandings and handshakes don’t cause bruising above the elbow.

“It is not easy for a victim to come forward and I can understand why so often violence against women goes unreported.”

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper disqualified her office from the matter since it involved a county official and at least one witness who is also an elected county commissioner.

The matter then was directed to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office which assigned it to William Valliencourt, who said Monday he had it for “about a week.”

“I reviewed the investigation by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, including witness statements, and concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that an intentional criminal assault was committed,” Valliencourt said.

“This is closed and there is no further (court) action on it.”

A spokesman for Knollenberg declined to comment.

A preliminary report indicated Brown and Knollenberg and his wife were all seated in the same row and as Brown was picking up her personal items and coat, Knollenberg tried to talk to her.

When Brown declined, the lawmaker allegedly firmly grabbed her arm and wouldn’t let go until others interceded.

Through a spokesman, Knollenberg denied “any aggressive behavior” toward Brown.

“He attended the event and greeted (Brown) and there was a brief conversation ... and didn’t know of her concerns or accusations until reading them (in the paper). He was surprised and feels this had been a misunderstanding,” the spokesman said the day after Brown made her report.

“He said he stayed at the event briefly with his wife and left without any conversation about any incident.”

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