Visiting judge denies request to reinstate charges in Ian Elliott case
A visiting judge at Isabella County Trial Courthouse denied a request to reinstate sexual assault charges against former Student Government Association President Ian Elliott on Dec. 18.
Elliott, 24, of Cheboygan, was originally charged with two felony counts of sexual misconduct in the third degree and one felony count of assault with attempt to penetrate. The incident occurred on Sept. 1, 2016, where Elliott allegedly sexually assaulted CMU graduate student Rachel Wilson. The case, which was set to go to trial on May 7, 2018, was dismissed by the Isabella County Prosecuting Attorney's Office on April 6, 2018.
On Oct. 31, the Michigan Attorney General's Office filed a motion to reinstate the charges against Elliott. When a motion hearing took place on Dec. 3, Isabella County Judge Mark Duthie recused himself. Duthie said he felt he couldn't rule on the case after having conversations about a story published by Central Michigan Life on Oct. 11, which detailed Wilson's account of the assault.
Judge Kimberly Booher of Mecosta County heard arguments from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and Elliott's defense attorney Joe Barberi during the hearing Tuesday.
Assistant Attorney General Brian Kolodziej cited research he had done on the case prior to filing a motion to reinstate the charges. Kolodziej challenged the idea that the motion was filed due to political motivation, since it was issued days before the 2018 Midterm Election.
He said he was given the case in October, reviewed all documents in the case and noted there was no “time table” on the decision.
“Like in any other case, a careful decision was made,” Kolodziej said.
The assistant attorney general noted “due diligence” was performed during the process and the decision wasn’t based on a news article or political motivations.
During his argument, Kolodziej told the judge in the process of reviewing the case and performing interviews, he has found two other victims that Elliott allegedly sexually assaulted, which he noted happened in a similar way.
In Barberi's response to Kolodziej, he said in his more than 40 years of experience in law, he has never heard of a attorney general’s office attempting to reopen a case to reinstate charges after a county prosecutor had dismissed them.
Judge Booher denied the request for the attorney general’s office to reinstate the charges. She said the only way they could come in and reinstate charges was if there was either clinical error, fraud or mistake in the original case.
She said if the attorney general’s office wants to proceed, the case must be charged from the beginning again, with new charges.
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office has yet to announce if they will be filing new charges.