Michigan State Rep. Larry Inman was tried on 3 different counts in federal court this past December. He was accused of lying to the FBI, extortion, and bribery. The jury acquitted Inman of lying to the FBI, but they were deadlocked on the other two charges and did not come to a decision which led to a mistrial on those charges. Hung juries are incredibly rare, but that is exactly what happened on the extortion and bribery counts for this case. The judge in this case said that in 12 years on the federal bench, he had only presided over one other hung jury.
Inman testified on his own behalf and U.S. Attorneys now claim that two other state representatives now contradict Inman’s testimony, which they believe entitles them to a new trial. Typically, a hung jury results in a mistrial and the case will then be retried in the future. But since the jury acquitted him on one count, there are some concerns whether a new trial would violate double jeopardy. Prosecutors believe they can retry Inman on the remaining charges with any new evidence they obtain. The judge in this case has also expressed a concern that punishing Inman would basically criminalize political fundraising and collecting campaign contributions.
Original Case Details
State Rep. Inman was accused of attempting to sell his vote against repealing the state’s prevailing wage to a union group that opposed the measure in exchange for campaign contributions. The case was centered on a couple text messages that Inman sent to Michigan Regional Carpenters and Millwrights. One text was to an official of the group and the other was a lobbyist. The text read, “We all need some more help!” and “people will not go down for $5,000, not that we don’t appreciate it.” The case was a test of the limits of campaign contribution solicitations by politicians. It is not illegal to seek campaign contributions unless the money is sought in exchange for a specific official political like, like a vote.
Inman maintained his innocence throughout this case and noted a horrible addiction to painkillers which has clouded his memory of events.
Federal Charges Involved
Inman was charged with 3 separate counts in a federal indictment. He was charged with lying to the FBI, extortion, and bribery. The charges that remain are extortion and bribery since he was acquitted of the charge of lying to the FBI. The maximum possible penalty for extortion is 20 years in prison, while the maximum for a conviction of bribery is 10 years in prison. Each charge Inman faced carried a maximum of a $250,000 fine.
What Happens Now?
A determination has to be made if there is an ability to retry Inman without violating double jeopardy laws. Double jeopardy is when someone is tried for the same crime twice. The common law idea is that one criminal act or one single episode of criminal behavior should result in one prosecution, no matter how many different illegal acts were committed during this episode. Since the jury hung on the bribery and extortion counts, those counts have not been fully decided yet, so the potential for another trial exists on these charges if the prosecutors want one. It looks as if the prosecutors do want another trial and look to have additional evidence from two other state representatives who look to completely contradict what Inman testified to in his trial this past December.
Any Further Questions?
If you have any additional questions relating to this case or anything else related to public corruption, then we are happy to offer a FREE consultation. If you or someone you love is facing a criminal charge or is currently being investigated for a possible criminal charge, then it is important to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, we have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully representing clients in both federal and state court respectively. We are a criminal defense firm, it’s all we do. We are available by phone on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide offices. We can also come to you.