First Day of Rep. Inman Federal Bribery, Extortion Trial
The first day is in the books for the federal trial of Representative Larry Inman, accused of attempted bribery, extortion and lying the the FBI.
The Williamsburg-based Republican was indicted last spring for soliciting campaign contributions from a carpenter’s union back in 2018 for his support in the prevailing wage initiative.
Over the summer he completed in-patient rehab for opioid addiction, another factor in his decision making according to his attorney.
Since his indictment the legislature has voted for him to resign, and two separate campaigns have started, pushing for him to resign or to have him recalled from office.
The first half of the morning was used for jury selection, a sticky process for a case that can involve political bias towards a certain party or politician.
Once the jury was selected, each side made their opening statements and the state called their first witness, the initial complainant, Lisa Canada, the political and legislative director for the Michigan Regional Carpenters and Millwrights Union.
The jury saw the text message between Canada and Inman that sparked the investigation and a 15-minute phone call between the two.
One development of note was mentioned before the trial officially began, when Inman’s attorney, Christopher Cooke, said the union has been supporting the efforts to recall Inman.
“We’re going to get into that maybe tomorrow I think,” says Cooke, “It’s very significant but I’ve got to make some decisions about how that may or may not come out.”
Cooke says the union spent $60,000 on the recall campaign and used union members to volunteer to get signatures.
During the state’s questioning, Canada admitted to saying she was shocked and angry by the text and told others in the union she wanted to spend every dime the union had to defeat Inman.
“In these kind of cases I have very little opportunity to discover anything so you’re going to find out when I find out,” says Cooke.
The defense gets their chance to question Canada Wednesday.
Another big name witness will be current Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, he is expected to take the stand on Thursday.