Michigan attorney: ‘Gov. Whitmer is not Marie Antoinette,’ demands misconduct prosecution

June 1, 2021 in News by RBN Staff


Source: Legal Newsline By Juliette Fairley 

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) – A Michigan attorney is demanding the criminal prosecution of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer under the state penal code because she allegedly violated campaign finance rules as well as pandemic orders she issued for failing to self-quarantine after returning from a Florida vacation.

Matthew DePerno, who operates a law office in Portage, took to Twitter this week a copy of the letter he sent to Attorney General Dana Nessel asking for Whitmer’s prosecution under state statute MCL 750.505.

“Our Governor Gretchen Whitmer appears to just not care about the orders that she imposes on people and she’s willing to break them when it comes to herself,” DePerno said. “She’s doing a lot of damage to the state and to people personally and financially.”

MCL 750.505 allows for the indictment of common law offenses and carries with it a $10,000 fine or five years of imprisonment or both.

“It is a common law misconduct-in-office statute,” DePerno told Legal Newsline. “There doesn’t have to be a traditional crime committed. Misconduct in office centers fully around the idea of an elected official doing something that’s inappropriate.”

DePerno alleges in his letter dated May 24 that Gov. Whitmer chartered a private plane to fly to Florida and initially stated that she took the trip to visit her father.

“This was not entirely true,” DePerno states.”When she stated that a nonprofit corporation paid for the flight, this turned out to be largely false. In reality, the corporation named Michigan Transition 2019 that paid $27,521 for the trip is actually controlled by Whitmer.”

If Nessel declines to prosecute, DePerno said he is committed to filing a circuit court action that would lead to a one-person grand jury.

“That’s something available to people in the state of Michigan,” he said. “The first thing we should do is let Dana Nessel respond to our letter. Give her the opportunity to do what would be right and open an investigation.”

Nessel, however, has already declined to launch a criminal investigation against Gov. Whitmer’s COVID nursing home policies, according to media reports, telling lawmakers that she found no evidence that would require a criminal inquiry.

“I understand they are very good friends, which would demonstrate a conflict of interest,” DePerno said. “They’ve got to find someone who is unbiased and doesn’t have an interaction or relationship with the governor. It could be anyone out of Detroit or Lansing but it would have to be a different county prosecutor, or it could be just an independent attorney somewhere that does criminal law. There’s a wide variety of people they can pick from.”

DePerno further alleges Whitmer violated her own guidelines when she visited an East Lansing bar on May 23 to drink alcohol with a group of friends.

“The group shot of 13 individuals violates Whitmer’s restaurant capacity order issued May 15th on gathering limitations for entertainment establishments, recreational establishments, and food service establishments,” he said.

As previously reported, Gov. Whitmer apologized after the photo surfaced.

“Her order is directed to all the citizens in the state of Michigan, which includes her,” DePerno said. “She’s not exempt from that. She’s not immune. She’s not Marie Antoinette. She has to follow her own rules.”