DETROIT (AP) — A state prosecutor resigned after authorities learned “incredibly disturbing” news that he had an intimate relationship with a woman while handling her allegations of sexual assault, Michigan’s attorney general said Tuesday.
Brian Kolodziej, an assistant attorney general, was the prosecutor in a case involving students at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. Ian Elliott, a former student government president, pleaded no contest to third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Isabella County and began serving a year in prison in August.
State police last week informed Nessel that Kolodziej was having a relationship with the victim while the case was pending earlier this year. A criminal investigation is underway, and a complaint has been filed with the Attorney Grievance Commission.
It was “absolutely outside the bounds of what a prosecutor can do during the course of a case,” Nessel told reporters. “To say that I am horrified, to say that I’m disgusted is really an understatement. In over 25 years of practice in criminal law, both as prosecutor and defense attorney, I have never before even heard of a situation like this. … This was incredibly disturbing.”
Nessel wouldn’t say whether Elliott’s conviction should be thrown out. She said she plans to talk to defense attorney Joe Barberi.
“We are going to review every aspect of that case and every aspect of any case that Mr. Kolodziej touched in any manner,” Nessel said.
Kolodziej, 41, couldn’t be reached for comment. The former TV and film actor joined the attorney general’s office in 2018, before Nessel took office in January.
Barberi said the news was a “bombshell.” In court, he had accused Kolodziej of being unethical and overly zealous during the case. He noted that the attorney general’s office decided to pursue Elliott in 2018 after local prosecutors dropped charges.
“He had an agenda on getting a conviction,” Barberi said.
Barberi said Elliott insisted he had consensual sex with the woman after meeting her at a bar in 2016 but pleaded no contest due to mounting legal bills and adverse pretrial rulings about evidence. A second case involving another woman was dismissed as part of the plea bargain, but both women spoke as victims at sentencing.
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