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Morse won’t be charged in alleged touching incident

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Well-known attorney Mike Morse will not face criminal charges for a incident in which a woman accused him of improperly touching her at a Farmington Hills restaurant.

The woman, Renee Swain, 47, of Novi, reported the incident occurred in April at Lelli’s Inn on the Green. The Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office was assigned the case after Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper recused herself because Morse had held a political fundraiser for her.

“Our office has done a thorough evaluation of the law and the facts presented to us in the police investigation and have determined the case is better suited for the civil arena,” Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said in a news release Monday. “As such, we will not be issuing criminal charges. We admire the courage of the victim in this case to come forward in such difficult circumstances.”

The 49-year-old personal injury attorney has been the subject of lawsuits from Swain and four other women who alleged sexual misconduct or unwanted touching by Morse in separate incidents. Morse – known for providing backpacks and school supplies for disadvantaged children – has denied all accusations.

Swain said she was posing for a photo with Morse at the Farmington Hills restaurant when he allegedly grabbed her breast.

She filed a complaint with Farmington Hills police, and restaurant owner Mark Zarkin asked her to meet with him and Morse at the restaurant in May. During that meeting, Swain wore a police-provided wire, which recorded Morse complaining that negative publicity would hurt him personally and professionally.

Morse could not be reached for comment Monday. His attorney, Deborah Gordon, praised Leyton’s action.

“It’s exactly the right decision,” she said. “The prosecutor looked at it thoroughly and there is no there, there. The accusations are not credible.”

Attorney Geoffrey Fieger filed a lawsuit against Morse on behalf of Swain, and three other women – including two of Morse’s former co-workers – came forward with suits in Oakland County accusing Morse of fondling them. A fifth woman alleged unwanted touching from Morse in a complaint filed in Wayne County Circuit Court.

All of the suits but Swain’s and the Wayne County case have been dismissed.

“We fully expect them to be dismissed as well,” said Gordon.


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