Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

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 Office of the Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel won’t need to take any immediate action to publicly disclose search warrants and other materials affiliated with its criminal investigation into former House Speaker Lee Chatfield, an Ingham County judge ruled Tuesday morning. 

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. 

How impactful was this article for you?

Only donate if we've informed you about important Michigan issues

See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:

  • “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
  • “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
  • “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.

If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Pay with PayPal Donate Now