AG: Prosecutor forged police reports in Ian Elliott investigation
At least 3 supervisors knew of Assistant AG's wrongdoing, investigation shows
In excerpts of an unreleased internal investigation by the Michigan Attorney General's Office, officials concluded that former Assistant Attorney General Brian Kolodziej forged police reports in a Central Michigan University sexual assault case, submitting "erroneous police reports" to the Isabella County court and the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Kolodziej, who resigned from the Attorney General's office in September, admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with one of the victims in the sexual assault case. His resignation launched an internal investigation by Attorney General Dana Nessel into Kolodziej's unethical behavior.
Although the investigation remains unpublished by the Attorney General's office, its conclusions were sent on Nov. 26 to defense attorney Joe Barberi, who represented the defendant in the sexual assault case. Barberi said he received copies of 21 interviews conducted as part of Nessel's investigation.
Barberi released excerpts from the investigation on Friday, Feb. 7, following the sentencing of his client, Ian Elliott, in Isabella County Trial Court. Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker, who is investigating Kolodziej's handling of the sexual assault case, reportedly gave Barberi permission to release his summary of the investigation.
In portions released by Barberi, officials concluded that Kolodziej had conducted interviews with witnesses without police supervision and forged unauthorized police reports, which he withheld from Elliott's defense attorneys during the judicial process.
"Kolodziej interviewed victims and witnesses without a law enforcement officer present, and in some situations, there was never a police interview conducted," the report's conclusion reads.
"The investigation found that Kolodziej submitted erroneous police reports to the defense counsel, the court, and the Michigan Department of Corrections... The investigation found that the reports were also withheld from the defense when they would have been vital in providing an adequate defense and ensuring fair judicial process."
The report states that when Kolodziej was caught providing the "erroneous reports," he blamed the matter on Karen Fairley, an investigator with the Michigan Attorney General who was ultimately transferred out of the division, according to the report.
Barberi included in his released report two exhibits from Nessel's investigation: A copy of an unauthorized police report submitted by Kolodziej, which he claimed had been prepared by Fairley, and an actual police report authored and signed by Fairley. Fairley's authorized police report contained exculpatory evidence which Kolodziej deleted in the report he submitted.
Barberi's report also named at least three supervisors who were aware of Kolodziej's wrongdoing as early as January 2019 but did not take action. One of those was Chief of Staff Laura Moody, who allegedly was made aware of Kolodziej's relationship with a victim in the sexual assault case at a meeting Jan. 16, 2019. Also present at the meeting were Rebekah Snyder, a Victim Advocate for the Attorney General's Office, as well as appellate chief John Pallas and Donna Pendergast of the Criminal Division.
"The investigation again found that all this behavior was also known by Chief of Staff Laura Moody, who took no action," the report reads. "The investigation found that no one ever brought the Kolodziej matter to other members of executive staff nor to Attorney General Nessel."
According to reporting by the Detroit News, Moody reportedly resigned in July and currently works for the office of Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, a former Michigan chief deputy attorney general.
Pallas was demoted as a result of the Attorney General's internal investigation of Kolodziej’s prosecutorial misconduct, said Kelly Rossman-McKinney, communications director for the Attorney General's Office. She was not able to comment further due to ongoing Michigan State Police investigations.