Probable cause has been found in all three charges brought forth by the Michigan Attorney General’s office against 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan, sending her to trial.
Brennan was in Livingston County court Wednesday morning for Genesee District Court Judge David Guinn’s findings following two days of exam hearings that took place in March and April. The Michigan Attorney General’s office is charging Brennan with perjury, misconduct in office, and destroying evidence in relation to her 2016 divorce case. After hearing remarks from attorneys on both sides, Guinn issued his decisions.
He declared probable cause for perjury citing conflicting statements from Brennan during her divorce deposition and Judicial Tenure Commission hearing last October regarding the admission of resetting of a protected cell phone. This led into another charge of tampering with evidence, which Guinn also found probable cause for. Guinn said that evidence shows despite Brennan receiving the ex parte order on the phone and a call from the Chief Judge about the order, she still transferred data from the protected phone onto a new one, resetting the protected phone to its factory setting. Guinn ruled that that type of action is clearly in violation of an ex parte order.
With the misconduct in office charge, Judge Guinn began with Brennan’s decision to not immediately recuse herself from her own divorce case. He said “it’s not rocket science,” and that there’s “no need to ponder, no need to think about what to do when a case you are a party to is assigned to you.” Guinn said she delayed on signing the order, and that it is in the court’s belief that she used that time to “plot and scheme” what to do with the evidence on the phone. Guinn then pointed to Brennan assigning her court reporter, who is required to be at her post while court is on the record, abandon that post to research how to delete emails, which was supported by Google searches pulled from the reporter’s computer. Guinn declared for among these reasons, there was probable cause for that charge, too.
An upcoming arraignment date will now be scheduled. (MK)