U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Stafford entered a not-guilty plea for a silent Detroit City Councilman André L. Spivey in U.S. District Court in Detroit Tuesday to accepting over $35,000 in exchange for council votes.
Spivey was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. Stafford reportedly agreed to the release under the conditions that Spivey give up his enhanced driver’s license, his passport, and his expired concealed-carry permit.
Spivey, who has represented District 4 on the city’s east side since 2010 but who earlier this year decided against running for reelection, is charged with conspiracy to accept bribes and faces a potential sentence of five years in jail as well as a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. Additionally, the prosecution expects to pursue Spivey’s forfeiture of any ill-gotten assets upon conviction.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan is accusing the 47-year-old Spivey of conspiring with a member of his staff, identified in the District Court’s criminal-information document only as “Public Official A,” to accept over $35,000 in illicit payments. Prosecutors Saima S. Mohsin, Frances Lee Carlson, and David A. Gardey assert that the alleged bribes are related to votes Spivey anticipated casting with regard to “an industry under review by the council.” The prosecution maintains this activity took place “from in or about 2016 through in or about 2020.”
The information filing mentions that, in each year in which the conspiracy is alleged, Detroit’s municipal government received over $10,000 in federal aid.
Prosecutors furthermore allege that the councilman accepted a $1,000 bribe from an undercover law-enforcement officer in October 2018.
Spivey’s attorney Elliott S. Hall has insisted that the councilman has been entirely cooperative with federal authorities for more than a year and said he and his client are “in continuing negotiations with the U.S. Attorney’s Office” about whether to go to trial or pursue a different arrangement. He said that he and Spivey await the hearing dates to be sent out by Judge Linda V. Parker, to whom the case has been assigned. “Meanwhile we will be continuing our meetings with the [Federal Bureau of Investigation] and the U.S. attorney’s office.”
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