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Chatfield brother drops challenge to warrant; details under wraps

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The younger brother of former state House Speaker Lee Chatfield has dropped his legal challenge to a search warrant, which allowed the Michigan State Police to seize his cell phone and other records. That’s as the former Republican leader faces an investigation into allegations of sexual assault leveled against him by his sister-in-law.

Aaron Chatfield’s wife, Rebekah, said the assaults begin while she was a teenager. Rebekah Chatfield’s attorney has also alleged unspecified financial misdeeds.

Those claims are being investigated by the Michigan Attorney General and the Michigan State Police. On Tuesday, the state police executed a search warrant at the home of two former top staffers to Lee Chatfield when he served as House Speaker.

Mike Nichols is Aaron Chatfield’s attorney. He said the warrant as initially issued by the state was unconstitutionally broad, did not specify what information was sought, and what crimes might have been committed.

“Chief among our concerns was the breadth of the warrant, and those concerns have been satisfied to the extent we’re dismissing the complaint,” Nichols told Michigan Public Radio.

Nichols says how the questions were resolved will remain confidential for now.

Lee Chatfield has acknowledged an extra-marital affair with his younger brother’s wife, but says it was consensual and did not occur while she was under-age. His wife, Stephanie Chatfield, released a lengthy statement Thursday through her attorney that disputes her brother- and sister-in-law’s version of events.

“Stephanie Chatfield can no longer sit quietly by while those with hidden agendas seek to pedal false narratives for their own personal gain,” said the release from the law office of Matthew Newburg.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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