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How Text Messages, Prevailing Wage And Opioids Factor Into A State Lawmaker's Criminal Case

State Capitol Rotunda - file photo by Cheyna Roth, Michigan Public Radio Network
Cheyna Roth
Michigan Public Radio Network

A state Representative from northern Michigan faces charges of soliciting a bribe, and lying to the FBI. If convicted, Larry Inman could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. On Friday the Gongwer News Service reported that a judge granted a prosecution motion to delay the trial, which had been scheduled to start August 6th. 

Interlochen Public Radio reporter Max Johnston spoke with WMUK’s Gordon Evans before Friday’s ruling delaying the trial for an update on the case. He says Inman is accused of offering to sell his vote on repealing Michigan’s prevailing wage law, and lying to the FBI when he was asked about it.

While the prosecution has won the delay in the trial it wanted, Inman’s lawyer wants the case dismissed. Attorney Chris Cooke says the case is not in the federal court’s jurisdiction. Cooke says the vote on the prevailing wage law and any actions surrounded it all occurred in Michigan, making it a state issue.

Johnston says if the case goes to trial, prosecutors will use text messages sent by Inman as evidence. The Defense doesn’t dispute that the text messages were sent, but Inman’s attorney says they were taken out of context, and don’t prove that he was trying to sell his vote.

Inman has also started treatment for what is called “long-term opioid use.” Johnston says the defense will argue that pain medication may have clouded Inman’s judgement. Legal experts say that such a “diminished capacity” defense gets mixed results in the courtroom.

A resolution has been introduced in the House calling for Inman’s resignation. Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, like Inman a Republican from northern Michigan, is one of the sponsors. But Johnston says Inman has not given any indication that he plans to step down.

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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