Rep. Inman’s Defense Files Motion to Dismiss Charges

LAWMAKER HOPES TO HAVE FEDERAL CASE TOSSED OUT

There are new developments in the case against Michigan State Representative Larry Inman. With another court date in a few weeks, and a trial set for August, Larry Inman’s attorney wants the case dismissed.

Christopher Cooke says, “We believe that based on what Rep. Inman is charged under, the statutes he’s charged under, that there is no federal jurisdiction.”

Inman is the Representative serving Grand Traverse County in the Michigan House. He was indicted last month by a grand jury, and now faces federal charges for Attempted Extortion, Soliciting a Bribe, and lying to the FBI.

It led fellow lawmakers to draft a resolution urging Inman to resign, and in the fallout he was removed from the House Republican Caucus. Now, Inman’s lawyer has filed a 30-page motion to dismiss the case. Cooke says, “All of these allegations that Rep. Inman is facing require some kind of federal jurisdiction before the federal government can come in.”

In the court filing, Inman’s defense claims the U.S. Attorney’s office is behind a “constitutionally defective indictment.”  The motion makes the argument that the allegations do not meet the legal definitions for extortion or bribery.

The allegation remains that Larry Inman was soliciting campaign funds in exchange for his vote, and for the charge of attempted extortion to stick, Attorney Christopher Cooke says by definition, there has to be some effect on commerce. But here, Inman’s vote on the prevailing wage law would – at most – have sent the issue to all the voters of Michigan. “If the no votes had prevailed it would have just gone to the general populace for a vote in November. So our argument is, how does that effect commerce, if all you’re doing is sending this on to the November ballot for a vote of the general populace?”

For the federal charge of bribery, Cooke says before the federal government can come in and enforce a federal statute, they have to prove the defendant is an “agent” of an organization, and the entity involved in the case has to be receiving federal funding. “There’s not even an allegation in the indictment that Rep. Inman received any money from the unions. But that’s not really the argument, the argument is that the Michigan House of Representatives in its budget does not receive federal funds.” The motion claims, by definition, making this a federal matter is inappropriate.

And on the third count of lying to the FBI, Cooke says if the court agrees that the federal government has no jurisdiction, then questioning by federal investigators must also be tossed out. “We have a state, and a state law enforcement agency perfectly capable of enforcing the laws in the state of Michigan. And the Federal Bureau of Investigation, if they knock on your door with a subpoena they have to have the same federal jurisdiction the federal government has.”

Also on Tuesday, Cooke filed notice with the federal court that the defense intends to present evidence of Larry Inman’s “diminished cognitive ability” as a result of prescription pain medications – and whether Inman had the necessary “mental state” required for the alleged offense. Inman said earlier this month he was seeking treatment for opioid use. But still – it isn’t altering Inman’s decision NOT to step down from office. “We’re obviously going to rely to a great degree on what these physicians say about what’s happening with Rep. Inman. If there is an ongoing concern about his physical well-being, that’s going to be analyzed on a day to day basis. There’s no intention and no plan for Rep. Inman to resign at this time.”

Federal prosecutors will have a chance to respond, so there’s no date yet set for a hearing on the motion.  Right now, Inman is due back in court in July with a trial date set for August.