LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Lansing judge has been appointed as a one-person grand jury to collect evidence and decide whether to charge anyone with crimes in a Grand Rapids lawmaker's last-minute switch to the Republican Party.
Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina was chosen through a blind draw Tuesday after a majority of circuit court judges were in favor of a one-person grand jury. The request came from Democrats.
Aquilina will have the power to investigate and compel witnesses to testify about state Rep. Roy Schmidt's switch to the GOP in May, just before the deadline for the Aug. 7 primary election.
There's no dispute that Schmidt and Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger of Marshall planned the switch. Schmidt recruited a 22-year-old political novice to run as a Democrat against him.
Bolger spokesman Ari Adler provided the following statement regarding the grand jury on Tuesday afternoon:
"Speaker Bolger will fully cooperate with the Ingham County judge to answer any questions she may have. The Speaker has cooperated with all previous investigations on this matter, each of which found that no laws or rules were broken. While we believe the petition for a grand jury was politically motivated, the Speaker is putting his faith in the court providing an impartial review of the facts in this case and finding once again that he did not break any laws."
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer also provided a statement:
"We have always believed the public deserves a thorough, nonpartisan investigation into these matters, and that's why we filed a petition for a one-person grand jury to look at this case. Today's announcement means that an independent judge will be able to determine exactly what transpired between Speaker Bolger, Roy Schmidt, Matt Mojzak and others in this scheme."
Information from: The Detroit News
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