Nessel on Kolodziej allegations: 'To say that I am disgusted – it’s really an understatement'
AG who prosecuted Ian Elliott forced to resign for inappropriate relationship with accuser
A Michigan Attorney General special prosecutor who filed sexual assault charges against former Student Government Association President Ian Elliott was forced to resign Friday for having an inappropriate relationship with one of Elliott’s accusers.
Brian Kolodziej, 41, is now being investigated by Michigan State Police. Kolodziej was a former prosecutor in Macomb County before joining the AG’s office during Bill Schuette’s tenure.
Attorney General Dana Nessel addressed Kolodziej's resignation at a news conference at 4 p.m. Sept. 10 in Lansing. Nessel condemned Kolodziej's actions. She said her office was working to ensure something like this never happens again.
“This man’s actions do not define our department,” Nessel said. “We are going to review every aspect of that case, and any case he touched in any matter. I want to make certain that each and every defendant was provided due process.
“To say that I am horrified, to say that I am disgusted – it’s really an understatement. I have never before even heard of a situation like this.”
Kolodziej was assigned to the case after the Attorney General’s Office filed three charges against Elliott on Oct. 31 on behalf of former CMU student Rachel Wilson.
Wilson went public with her story in an interview with Central Michigan Life. Separate charges were filed by Landrea Blackmore after she testified at Elliott's preliminary exam.
Wilson’s original case against Elliott, in which he was charged with two counts of third-degree sexual misconduct and one count of assault with attempt to penetrate, was dismissed by the Isabella County Prosecutor’s Office.
On April 4, Elliott’s defense attorney Joe Barberi filed a motion alleging prosecutor misconduct and asking for the court to dismiss the charges. The motion alleged that Kolodziej withheld information and violated ethical rules.
That is the same month that Kolodziej's relationship started, according to Nessel.
Elliott pleaded no contest to one count of third-degree criminal sexual assault in June. Isabella County Circuit Judge Eric Janes sentenced Elliott to at least a year and day in prison. Elliott is currently jailed at the Central Michigan Correctional Facility in St. Louis.
Barberi said his next step is to meet with Nessel. He declined to share whether he will appeal Elliott's case.
"The last thing I want to do is file a motion to reinstate this case and to have a two-week trial," Barberi said. "Mr. Elliott can never get a fair trial and due process based on what Brian Kolodziej did. I can't unring that bell."
After Wilson and Blackmore gave victim impact statements to Elliott before his sentencing, Kolodziej expressed dissatisfaction with how Wilson and Blackmore were treated during preliminary hearings. They had to relive their trauma all over again on the stand, he said.
"The path that Ms. Wilson and Ms. Blackmore endured to get here is an illustration of why the numbers (of victims who come forward) are so low," Kolodziej said. "This is why most victims don't come forward, and why the ones that do are so often silenced."
Barberi doubts that there's an opportunity for a fair trial he said, because Kolodziej "clearly" tainted the accusers.
"What this man did is he befriended them, he told them they need to be a part of the team and you need to help me convict Mr. Elliott," Barberi said.
Kolodziej, from Clinton Township, used to be an actor and head brewmaster in California, according to his IMDb page. He studied law at Wayne State University Law School. The last movie he starred in was “Creep Van,” a horror film that released in 2012.
Here is Nessel's full statement: