Former prosecutor faces felony misconduct charges related to alleged inappropriate relationship
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A former Michigan state prosecutor will be charged with two counts of felony misconduct in office after allegedly engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a victim in a criminal sexual conduct case.
Brian Kolodziej, an assistant attorney general who was hired in September 2018 to prosecute sexual assault cases, was placed on administrative leave and then resigned in fall 2019 after details of the reported relationship surfaced. The attorney general’s office launched an internal investigation into his cases.
Christopher Becker, the Kent County prosecuting attorney who was appointed as the special prosecutor in the investigation, announced the charges against Kolodziej on Thursday but declined to offer additional details regarding his alleged misconduct.
“Ethically we cannot, and will not, delve into the specific facts or evidence that led to these charges being filed,” Becker said in a statement.
According to news reports, the woman in the reported relationship with Kolodziej had been sexually assaulted by Ian Elliott, a student at the Central Michigan University, in 2016. Kolodziej was the lead prosecutor in the case, in which Elliott pleaded no contest to third-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to a year in prison.
The attorney general’s office has since offered Elliott a lower charge in the case. This past January, he reentered a plea for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and received credit for his time served.
The following month, Michigan Radio reports, Joe Barberi, Elliott’s attorney, who had claimed that Kolodziej’s misconduct extended beyond his relationship with the victim in his client’s case, said he received a copy of the internal investigation.
Barberi said he would be referring Kolodziej to the Attorney Grievance Commission, and he was “weighing Elliott’s legal options concerning the unethical behavior of Brian Kolodziej, as well as the failure of other members of the Attorney General’s staff who knowingly permitted such unethical behavior.”
In a statement Thursday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel thanked Becker, his team at the Kent County prosecutor’s office and the Michigan State Police “for their thorough investigation and all of the hard work” in bringing charges against Kolodziej.
“We condemned Mr. Kolodziej’s actions when we first discovered them, and we support Prosecutor Becker in his pursuit of justice and will continue to cooperate with his office’s efforts as this case moves forward,” Nessel said.
Kolodziej faces punishment of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.