Wayne County scandal: Phase 2?

Rod Meloni: When will other shoe drop in Wayne County scandal investigation?


DETROIT – The FBI raid on the Wayne County executive's office made big headlines in October of 2011.

Ever since then everyone in Wayne County government has been waiting for the other shoe to drop. They want to know what charges, if any, will come as a result of that investigation. Today's court appearance and plea deal made by former Wayne County Deputy County Executive Michael Grundy may have put the scandal into phase two.

Read: Michael Grundy pleads guilty to wire fraud in case that accused him of taking kickbacks

It was a strange hearing though. Grundy plead to one count of wire fraud after being indicted on 25 counts. He admitted to taking $400,000 when he was originally accused of stealing the better part of $1 million from the county agency called Health Choice where he was the manager.

Usually when there are plea deals like this one, stemming from a hot headline case, you have the sentence passed right along with the plea. Not on Tuesday. Grundy will have a hearing on September 16 at 9 a.m. for a full day of testimony where the Federal Government will try and persuade the judge in the case to give him seventeen years behind bars.

The defense will argue for about three years. Both will call experts to the stand to help the judge with her decision. The problem with this hearing is it begs the questions: What does Michael Grundy really know, and is he willing to tell the Feds?

Grundy's attorney, Bill Swor, says no one has even broached the question of Grundy's willingness to cooperate nor has anyone offered reduced jail time in exchange for his future testimony. With all due respect to the well-known and respected lawyer, that is decidedly not how the Feds operate. We saw it in the Kwame Kilpatrick trial. Anyone who knew anything was given lesser jail time in exchange for their testimony.

It makes one wonder what is going on when there is disagreement on the length of the jail time. But it is also an opportunity for the Feds and Grundy to strike some kind of deal where his testimony could shave years off of his sentence.

A handful of underlings from Wayne County's I.T. Department have been to trial and are facing jail time. But a Deputy County Executive, with a reputation for smoothing operating in political circles, is a big fish.

The days between now and September 16 may provide some clarity to the question when will the other shoe drop ... or maybe not.

We will be watching very carefully to keep you updated.

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