Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

August 10, 2013

Judge: No indictment in party switch probe

LANSING (AP) — No one will be indicted for participating in a former state lawmaker’s scheme to switch parties at the last minute and pay a novice to run against him in a fake campaign, including the Republican House speaker, a judge ruled Friday.

Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, serving as a one-judge grand jury, said that an “exhaustive and diligent” probe lasting nearly a year uncovered no crime or wrongdoing and that charges were not warranted.

Ex-Rep. Roy Schmidt’s switch to the GOP in May 2012, just before the deadline for the August primary election, came under scrutiny when it came to light that his Democratic opponent did not meet a residency requirement. Investigators discovered that the Grand Rapids legislator had his son offer the man — 22-year-old friend Matt Mojzak — $450, later upped to $1,000, to run as a Democrat against Schmidt.

Mojzak ultimately turned down the money after quickly dropping out of the race under a glare from the media.

Schmidt lost re-election in November due to the fallout. House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, barely survived the election because of his role in Schmidt’s switch to his party, but he was chosen again to lead the chamber in January.

Friday’s announcement cleared Bolger, a top aide, Schmidt and others involved in the party switch.

“I want to thank all of those who stood by me during this time, which was particularly frustrating due to my inability to speak openly about details in this case due to the legal restrictions of a grand jury to conduct everything in secret,” Bolger said in a statement.

“I still stand behind the apology to voters I offered last year,” he said. “As promised in that apology, my focus has been and will continue to be on serving the hardworking men and women of our state to help solve the problems they face and help Michigan continue to grow for their success.”

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