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Grand Juror Clears Bolger, Schmidt Of Crimes In Election Scandal

There will be no criminal charges in the election-rigging scandal that embarrassed state House Speaker Jase Bolger and cost another lawmaker his job.

As we hear from The Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta, a judge in Lansing says there’s no evidence any crimes were committed.

This wraps up a year-long inquiry based on a complaint filed by Democratic leaders. The investigation focused on the leap by state Representative Roy Schmidt of Grand Rapids from the Democrats to the Republicans. Bolger encouraged and helped arrange the party switch, which added one more vote to his House Republican majority. They also tried to recruit a sham Democrat to appear on the ballot opposite Schmidt. The plot was uncovered and the candidate dropped out after it was revealed he didn’t live in the district. The Kent County prosecutor also found no evidence of a crime, but Schmidt lost his reelection bid.

The grand jury records will be sealed, but the judge says, upon request, she will file an affidavit clearing anyone publicly named as a target of the inquiry.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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