U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker in Grand Rapids rejected the Speaker’s motion to quash, which included a claim of “legislative privilege.”
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Jonker said no such privilege applied.
“The Court has been mindful since the beginning of this case of the unusual and delicate nature of charges by the federal government against a sitting member of the State legislature, especially when the substance of the charges involves solicitation of campaign contributions that are not, standing alone, unlawful in any way,” Jonker wrote.
He said that Chatfield’s testimony would be important for jurors to hear. The judge said he would work to limit conflicts between the trial and Chatfield’s legislative work. Chatfield will be scheduled to testify in the morning. Legislative sessions don’t begin until the afternoon.
The judge had rejected a defense request that charges be dismissed against Inman, a Grand Traverse County Republican.
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Politics isn’t always pretty, the judge said.
Jonker concluded “that a properly instructed jury was in the best position to weigh the issues in play and determine whether the solicitations at issue here crossed the line between lawful – albeit unseemly – politics as usual, into criminal quid pro quo attempts at extortion or solicitation of bribes.”
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