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Attorney General

Senator Jeff Sessions speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC in 2011.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Alabama senator Jeff Sessions was nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to become the next U.S. attorney general, and some Michigan professors don't like it.

26 law school faculty members in Michigan signed a letter urging the rejection of Sessions as an attorney general candidate. More than 1,400 law professors nationwide have joined this effort.

Steven Gray, one of 13 law professors at the University of Michigan who signed the letter, said Sessions has a history of not fighting hard enough for civil rights.

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Activist groups are protesting Donald Trump's pick for Attorney General in Detroit on Monday.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A growing number of Flint officials are raising concerns about a court order blocking the state health department from talking directly with Genesee County health agencies.

The state health department is part of a criminal probe into the Flint water crisis. The court order is part of the investigation, with the intent of protecting potential evidence. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor is concerned the health of her city’s residents may be affected by a legal dispute between state agencies and local health institutions. 

A dispute over a court order has led to sniping between the governor’s office, Michigan’s Attorney General’s office, the state health department, and Flint’s McLaren hospital.

This week, the state health department announced a seventh case of Legionnaire's disease in Genesee County this year. But it said it couldn’t confirm what the Flint hospital was doing in response.  

The Mulholland brothers ran an $18 million Ponzi scheme, the AG says
Flickr user Pictures of Money / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Twin brothers who ran an $18 million Ponzi scheme in Michigan are going to prison for up to 20 years.

James and Thomas Mulholland bought real estate, mostly in college towns, that they'd turn into rental houses.

They were doing pretty well, but they hit hard times during the recession.

So they started recruiting new investors, promising big returns and hiding their financial problems. But in reality, the state Attorney General says, they were using that new money to pay back other investors.

Left courtesy of michigan.gov/Right courtesty of Michigan Attorney General's office

This week, State Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that if Governor Snyder wants to appeal a court decision regarding teacher pay, he'll have to hire his own attorney.

The AG is sitting this one out.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to discuss the ever-widening split between Michigan's two top Republicans. 

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It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced that if Governor Snyder wants to appeal a court decision over teacher pay, he's on his own.

Many in Michigan are viewing the announcement as a sign that the relationship between the AG and the governor, once icy, has now all but frozen over.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announces charges in his team's investigation into the Flint water crisis on April 20, 2016.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says lawyers hired by Governor Rick Snyder won't turn over documents demanded by his Flint investigation team. 

As of now, taxpayers are paying for both the AG's special investigation as well as Governor Snyder's attorneys, which, at least from the AG's special investigator Todd Flood's point of view, are not cooperating fully with the investigation. 

Michigan AG Bill Schuette
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

With just 14 days left to charge former Detroit Police Commander James Tolbert for perjury, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says his office is “watching the case, and we’ll see what decision [Wayne County Prosecutor] Kym [Worthy] makes.”

Schuette declined to say whether he’d step in to press charges against Tolbert if Worthy doesn’t.

“I’m not going to speculate on what I might do,” Schuette said Tuesday. “The point is, we’re watching the case.”

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has been in the news a lot lately. This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about the climbing price tag on Schuette's Flint water investigation, his appeal to Michigan voters, and whether it's likely he'll run for governor in 2018.

Attorney General Bill Schuette faces legal complexities in his civil lawsuit to acquire damages for Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced today he's suing companies that he says allowed the Flint water disaster to, in his words, "occur, continue and worsen."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Texas-based charity is being warned about its fundraising connected to the Flint water crisis.

Michigan’s attorney general says FlintUnleaded.org may be violating the state’s laws on charitable solicitations.

Andrea Bitely is with the attorney general’s office.    She says they’re keeping an eye on charities claiming to raise money for Flint.

“We’re making sure that folks know how to donate to an organization that will actually get the dollars that they want to Flint,” says Bitely.

The lawyer in charge of state Attorney General Bill Schuette’s investigation, Todd Flood.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After many months of finger-pointing, there’s an effort underway in Michigan to determine just who’s at fault for the city of Flint’s drinking water crisis.

Michigan’s Attorney General has now appointed a special counsel to investigate how the city’s tap water became contaminated with lead.

People in Flint have spent nearly two years drinking bottled water.

For almost as long, there’s been a demand that someone be held accountable for the decisions that left their tap water undrinkable.

Today, Michigan’s Attorney General took a step in that direction.

Frank Kelley
Detroit Free Press

Frank Kelley is a man of the people and a true public servant.

He became both the youngest and oldest Attorney General in Michigan's history, serving for 37 years. He worked with seven presidents and five Michigan governors, acted to touch the lives of everyone in our state, and bowed out gracefully without a whiff of scandal or disrepute in all that time in office.

His story is told in the new book The People’s Lawyer: The Life and Times of Frank J. Kelley, the Nation’s Longest-Serving Attorney General.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s attorney general is warning gas station owners against price gouging.

Gasoline prices jumped dramatically this week after a problem was reported at an oil refinery in Indiana.   Michigan’s average price per gallon is three dollars, up 50 cents since last week.

flickr user Joe Gratz / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan attorney general’s office has decided to withdraw subpoenas sent to reporters investigating prison conditions for teenaged inmates.The attorney general’s office asked for all notes and records dealing with interviews connected to a lawsuit alleging sexual assaults against teenaged state prison inmates.   

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Attorney General’s office has decided to withdraw subpoenas it served on news media outlets, including Michigan Radio.

The subpoenas demanded notes and other information the news outlets collected in connection with a lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

As expected, Michigan’s attorney general has dropped an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to block a Lansing casino project.

But the legal fight is far from finished.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the state of Michigan could not sue the Bay Mills tribe to block it from operating a casino located off its reservation. The court ruled that the tribe has sovereign immunity.

The state was using the same legal strategy in an appeal in a case involving a proposed Lansing casino.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court says Michigan can't block the opening of an American Indian casino.

The high court on Monday disagreed with state officials who want to shutter the Bay Mills Indian Community's casino about 90 miles south of its Upper Peninsula reservation. Michigan argues that the tribe opened the casino in 2010 without permission from the U.S. government and in violation of a state compact.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette kicked off his reelection campaign today in his hometown of Midland.

In his speech, Schuette touted his record in office, including efforts to combat human trafficking and protect pensions.

“A record that’s strong and clear. It’s a record of being a voice for victims. A voice for the constitution and a voice for Michigan,” says Schuette. “It’s a long election and I’m going to win. I’m going to take my case to the citizens across the state of Michigan.”

Schuette didn’t directly address the controversy over same-sex marriage.

Bureau of Land Management

The state of Michigan alleges energy giants Encana Oil and Gas USA and Chesapeake Energy worked together to get cheaper prices to lease land to drill for oil and gas.

Michigan’s attorney general filed charges against the companies earlier this month. Today, the companies were arraigned on conspiracy and anti-trust violations.

Few remember this today, but 24 years ago, Bill Schuette, now Michigan’s Attorney General, gave up a safe seat in Congress in an attempt to defeat U.S. Senator Carl Levin.

Mark Totten was a 16-year-old kid growing up in Kalamazoo back then. Had he been able to, he would have voted for Schuette. His family was solidly Republican.

However, politics weren’t on Totten’s agenda then. As a teenager, his plan was to go to the seminary and become a Baptist minister. Totten went to a small Christian college in Ohio, but his views gradually started to change.

Making the world a better place continued to be important to him, but he realized the Republican Party didn’t represent his values. Totten became a Democrat, and then did something astonishing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says she's asked the state Attorney General's office to investigate 10 people who aren't U.S. citizens but have voted in past Michigan elections.

MLive reports the letter to Bill Schuette calls for an "investigation, and if appropriate, prosecution."

The Secretary of State's office says the people are from Kent, Macomb, Oakland, Roscommon and Wayne counties. Names of those involved haven't been released, but Johnson's office says they voted in presidential and gubernatorial elections in the past decade.

Schuette spokeswoman Joy Yearout says they received the letter from Johnson and the referrals are under review.

The 10 people area some of 600 people who earlier were verified as not being U.S. citizens by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

A partial shutdown of the federal government shutdown is now in day eight. There doesn’t appear to be a resolution in sight which leaves over 800,000 federal employees out of work. That includes people at the U.S. Attorney General’s office in Detroit. Today we talk with Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Thirty out of almost 200 people are furloughed at her office. 

"That's having an impact on the litigation mission of our office. Most of our criminal litigators are still here handling criminal cases, but it's our civil docket that's really taking a hit," said McQuade.

"Our people are working without pay, which is having a big impact, as you can image, on morale. The people that are furloughed are not being paid, but even the people who are here working are not being paid."

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A federal judge says 363 inmates in Michigan prisons sentenced to life without parole as juveniles should get parole hearings.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that laws like Michigan’s that automatically send some juveniles to prison for life with no chance of parole are “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Attorney General Bill Schuette has been trying to limit the scope of the ruling to five inmates who challenged their sentences and to all future cases. He says families of murder victims deserved the certainty of knowing those sentences would stand.

DeBoer Rowse Adoption Legal Fund

The state attorney general’s office has filed its response to a lesbian couple’s claim that Michigan’s marriage and adoption laws discriminate against their children.

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer are suing the state to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage. The amendment to the Michigan Constitution was approved by voters in 2004.

Rowse and DeBoer originally sued to win rights to jointly adopt the three children they’re raising together. U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman suggested they should expand their challenge to include the marriage amendment. So they filed a 34-point amended complaint last September. It says the marriage amendment violates their family’s rights to equal protection.

Expanding the scope of the lawsuit upset social conservatives like Gary Glenn of the American Family Association. He helped draft the amendment and was a leader of the campaign to adopt it.

“We believe it’s the duty of the governor of this state and the attorney general to enforce state law and uphold and defend the vote of the people and our state constitution,” Glenn said. “Even in the face of a decision by a federal judge who presumes to take it upon himself to have the power to overrule millions of Michigan voters.”

Last week, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette did something many found startling, especially those politically liberal. Schuette announced that in Detroit's bankruptcy filing he intended to intervene on behalf of those who have pensions coming.

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and his wife report paying $128,000 in federal, state and local taxes in 2012, based on adjusted gross income of about $664,000.

The Republican voluntarily released a summary of his federal tax return Friday. He's not required to release the information but says he's doing it in the interest of transparency.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s state constitutional amendment barring racial preferences in university admissions and other public institutions might be the next major case dealing with affirmative action laws in the United States.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided today not to decide a Texas affirmative action case where a white student challenged the University of Texas’s admission policy that includes race as one of its deciding factors. 

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Palisades returns to service

The Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in southwestern Michigan re-opened yesterday after finishing repairs to a tank that leaked slightly radioactive water into Lake Michigan. The plant has had nine shutdowns since September 2011; company spokeswoman Lindsay Rose says the tank has been redesigned to guard against future leaks. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says there was no public health risk from the radioactive release.

Detroit's water department faces restructuring

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has big plans to restructure the city’s water department. It would largely keep the same governing structure, with representatives from Detroit and surrounding counties, but the authority would also pay Detroit to lease the department’s assets.

“Orr’s plan suggests that spinning the water department off to an authority would allow it refinance its debt, and borrow more readily for capital improvements,” Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reports.

MSU law professor running for Michigan attorney general

Michigan State University law professor, Mark Totten, announced yesterday that he is running for Michigan attorney general in 2014. Totten, a Democrat, used to be a federal prosecutor. Democrats will choose their attorney general candidate at a nominating convention next year; no other Democratic candidates have entered the race yet. Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette is expected to seek re-election.

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