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Recall petition against federally charged state representative can go forward

Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg)
Michigan House of Representatives

The people of the 104th District are a step closer to recalling their state representative. The Board of State Canvassers approved a recall petition against Representative Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) on Thursday.

Inman has been charged with multiple federal crimes: soliciting a bribe, lying to the FBI, and attempted extortion. They say Inman tried to sell his vote on a controversial measure.

Inman has missed dozens of days – and votes – in the state Legislature since he was indicted in May. Michael Naughton is an attorney for the people behind the petition. He said the people of Inman’s district have a right to take him out of office as soon as possible.

“Do we just wait until he’s ready to go back to work?” asked Naughton. “Would you expect that of anyone else at any other job? ‘Well we’re going to wait this out.’ Absolutely not. And the people of our district, we demand better.”

Inman’s attorney, Chris Cooke, objected to the petition. He said it could impact Inman’s ability to find a fair and impartial jury if his case goes to trial.

“My client is presumed to have done nothing. Nothing,” Cooke said. “That’s the presumption that he’s entitled to under the law. So, I think there’s a strong argument that this statute as applied to my client is unconstitutional.”

Cooke said the next step is to decide if they will appeal the board’s decision. If Inman appeals, then any attempts to get signatures for the petition would have to stop.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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