Original Case Details
The fallout from alleged corruption in Macomb County continues. Former Macomb County public works commissioner Anthony Marrocco is the latest in a line of officials to be criminally charged for actions while in office. He’s accused of making lavish expenditures on himself using illegal money obtained in an extensive extortion scheme. The alleged scheme involves Marrocco directing his operations manager Dino Bucci and others inside Marrocco’s office to pressure local builders and contractors to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars in tickets to Marrocco political fundraisers. He allegedly kept lists of who bought tickets and who didn’t and would punish those who didn’t by making it difficult for them to obtain permits, payments, and even refusing to award Macomb County work contracts altogether. Bucci has already pled guilty for his role as a “bag man” in what is described as a pay-to-play mafia-type scheme.
Criminal Charges & Allegations
Marrocco has been federally indicted with acts of public corruption by the United States Attorney’s Office with two counts of extortion, one count of attempted extortion, and one count conspiracy to commit extortion. A conviction for extortion carries up to 20 years in prison, while a conviction for attempted extortion or conspiracy to commit extortion also carries the same maximum. If Marrocco is convicted of any of the four crimes charged, he faces up to a $250,000 fine for each offense.
He is alleged to have used money he extorted to fund personal expenses like air travel, car rentals, and expensive dinners. He is also accused of using extorted money for spa visits, gifts, and yacht club membership dues. The FBI alleges that Marrocco has been carrying out this extortion conspiracy since 1994 until he was defeated for the elected position in 2016 by Republican Candice Miller in a tense campaign. Miller has held her position since that election and has stated that Marrocco was feared because of his pay-to-play politics.
Marrocco’s attorney has stated that there was no extortion by Marrocco and nobody was forced to do anything by him. He put on political fundraisers just like any other elected official and took in donations just the same. It appears this case will be headed to trial as the defense has stated that the extortion scheme simply didn’t exist. The government has already secured a key witness in Bucci as he has pled guilty to reduced charges for his role in the alleged scheme. It is expected that Bucci would testify against Marrocco in a trial as a government witness because he has cooperated with federal authorities in securing his plea deal.
Marrocco will next face a preliminary hearing which will be held in the United States District Court of Michigan, Eastern District. This hearing operates like a mini trial where the prosecution will call witnesses and introduce evidence, while the defense will be able to cross examine the witnesses called. At this hearing, the prosecution is simply looking to show probable cause that a crime was committed along with probable cause that the defendant committed it. If the judge is satisfied that the probable cause standard has been met, then the case would continue on towards further proceedings and ultimately trial. If the judge does not feel that the probable cause standard has been met, then the judge will dismiss the charges against the defendant.
Any Further Questions?
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