The Michigan Supreme Court allowed a recall effort against Rep. Larry Inman (R-Grand Traverse County) to move forward in a Monday decision, quickly reversing a lower court’s decision.
The 7-0 ruling means that Inman could face a recall election in May if the Board of State Canvassers confirms that enough valid signatures were submitted with the recall petition, which was organized by the Inman Recall Committee. The Republican lawmaker is currently serving his third-term in the Michigan House, meaning he won’t be eligible for reelection because of the state’s term limits.
Inman was indicted by a federal grand jury in May on charges of attempted extortion, bribery, and lying to an FBI agent, but the Inman Recall Committee claims that it was his actions after being charged that prompted the recall effort.
“Inman’s actions after being indicted in May 2019 are the reason for the recall. He missed over 80 votes, did not show up for more than 3 months of work, and asserted diminished capacity due to opioid usage as part of his defense in the criminal case,” the group said in a press release.
Inman was acquitted by a jury on December 11 of lying to the FBI, but prosecutors said they want to retry the legislator because the jury was deadlocked on the charges of attempted extortion and bribery. House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) told reporters after the trial that he still believes Inman should resign from the House.
“The speaker’s position from the beginning was that it wasn’t so much about the outcome of a criminal trial,” a spokesperson from Chatfield’s office told the Associated Press. “It was the fact that (Inman) admitted to the substance of the text messages, where he was asking for the $30,000. What he admitted to in the text messages was unbecoming of a state representative.”
Sondra Hardy, primary sponsor of the petition to recall Inman, said she was “very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision.”
“We will continue now with validating signatures and fighting for the voices of the 104th district,” she added.
Michael Naughton, legal counsel for the Inman Recall Committee, said Monday’s decision was important “not only for Grand Traverse County, but especially for all communities in Michigan looking to exercise their constitutional right to recall elected officials.”
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