Lawyer says Michigan Supreme Court justice will fight to keep house

Government says Diane Hathaway temporarily transferred home to relative while trying to negotiate short sale in Michigan

Published On: Nov 21 2012 10:17:54 AM EST   Updated On: Nov 21 2012 06:08:07 PM EST
DETROIT -

The lawyer for a Michigan Supreme Court justice accused of fraud says she'll file a claim to keep a Florida home out of the hands of the government.

Steve Fishman offered brief comments Wednesday, two days after prosecutors sued to take control of a house owned by Justice Diane Hathaway and husband Michael Kingsley.

The government says they temporarily transferred the home to a relative while trying to negotiate a short sale on a Michigan property. After the sale went through, and mortgage debt was erased, the Florida home went back to Hathaway and Kingsley. The government says ING Bank was cheated.

Fishman declined to respond to the fraud allegation but says Hathaway and Kingsley will fight to keep the property in Windermere, Fla. No criminal charges have been filed.

Earlier Tuesday before news of the lawsuit broke, Hathaway denied speculation that she was resigning from the Supreme Court.

Hathaway, a Democrat, was elected to an 8-year term in 2008. If she leaves early, Gov. Rick Snyder would name a replacement. If he names a fellow Republican, his party would gain a 5-2 majority on the court.