Judge sides with Dana Nessel, keeps secret Lee Chatfield warrants
Former House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, is accused of sexually assaulting his sister-in-law, including when she was a minor. He’s also under investigation for potential embezzlement, bribery and campaign finance violations, according to affidavits obtained by The Detroit News. (Bridge file photo)
The decision from Circuit Court Judge Wanda Stokes denies a request from the Detroit Free Press and Bridge Michigan to require the state’s top law enforcement officer follow any timeline and provide additional clarity in the legal fight over whether certain investigative records are public.
“I appreciate the press intervenors’ position with respect to making sure that they are properly able to inform the public and also the important work our press does for all of our citizens. This court certainly is not interested in trying to create an environment where information is being withheld from the public. That would certainly be a miscarriage of justice,” Stokes said before delivering her decision at the end of a roughly 45-minute virtual hearing.
The hearing is the latest effort by the Free Press and Bridge to obtain documents related to the Chatfield investigation. Some were previously released to the Detroit News; the Free Press and Bridge argue others should be public in accordance with state law.