State Representative Larry Inman’s (R-Williamsburg) defense appears to be that the charges lodged against him by federal prosecutors are so vague and expansive that they would shut down fundraising, campaigning, and decision-making if he is convicted.
Inman’s legal team has asked a judge to dismiss the charges. The new brief is the response by Inman’s legal team to the government’s charges that he tried to squeeze labor groups for campaign donations to get Republicans to vote against an anti-union bill. The brief also says legislators and candidates have a First Amendment right to convey their positions via print, radio, TV, and Internet ads.
The Inman team's argument says the prosecution’s case for federal charges hangs on a weak argument that the fact that his campaign buys supplies via Amazon is interstate commerce and makes it subject to federal anti-corruption laws.
Inman’s team also argues that prosecution would have a “chilling effect” on any lawmaker’s ability to make independent decisions.
“This should not be the threshold adopted by this court,” the brief says.
Inman’s lawyers also say prosecution would inhibit the ability of legislators to communicate via telephone conversations or text messages. The case against Inman is based largely on text messages between the Traverse City Republican and a lobbyist.
The Inman brief also suggests there are other legislators who would face similar charges if he is tried and convicted. He would face as long as 20 years in prison if found guilty of all charges.