Rep. Brian Banks bound over for trial after preliminary hearing
DETROIT – State Rep. Brian Banks, (D-Harper Woods), was back in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing as he faces four felonies stemming from the repayment of a loan before he took office.
Banks was bound over for trial.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette charged Banks with two counts of uttering and publishing, one count of false statements as to financial condition and one count of false statements to defraud or cheat.
The charges are in connection with a personal loan from the Detroit Metropolitan Credit Union in 2010.
Banks wins primary fight
Despite the legal challenges, Banks pulled out a victory in the August primary for the 1st State House District seat.
He defeated five other candidates and moves on to the November general election. They included Pamela Sossi, Kameshea Amos, Corey Gilchrist, Washington Youson and Keith Hollowell.
Banks first won election to Michigan's 1st House District in 2012. The district includes parts of Detroit, Harper Woods, Grosse Pointe Woods and Grosse Pointe Shores.
Defense makes motion to disqualify
The defense started the preliminary hearing with a motion to disqualify, asking the judge to recuse herself.
“Mr. Banks had advised me that in his state representative capacity he was invited to the 36th district court to give a legislative update. Your honor was present with several other members from the judiciary court. Mr. Banks indicated that there was a very heated confrontation between you and him and he questioned your ability to be fair,” the defense said.
The defense argued that interactions with the court and Mr. Banks creates a bias and a prejudice.
"Your honor referred to either Mr. Banks or Mr. Banks’ behavior as a prick on at least three different conversations," the defense said. "Your honor was also upset that the exam got put in to August and I said as prick for appealing,” the defense said.
“In your motion, Mr. Banks told you something that’s completely made up,” Judge Deborah Langston said. “I don’t have any prejudice against Mr. Banks. These charges stem from some things that happened six years ago. It’s incumbent upon the attorney general’s office to prove them, and that’s what they’ve got to do today.”
The motion was denied.
Witness discusses phony paystubs
The prosecutor called a senior consultant at IHI Consultants, to the stand to discuss her involvement in the creation of phony paystubs.
“He asked if I had a document that could produce a paystub,” she said.
She was asked if she produced fake paystubs for Banks but before she answered, defense counsel noted that the witness should have an independent attorney since she may incriminate herself.
An appointed attorney was brought in to speak to her about her testimony. She confirmed on the stand that she created false paystubs for Banks.
Loan officer takes stand
Pauleen Foreman worked for Diversified Members Credit Union and took the stand, discussing the loan that Banks requested and the loan he was approved for.
Foreman indicated that she wasn’t the one who took the application paperwork for the loan, but that she initially denied it and later decided to consult further, getting a second opinion with the CEO of the credit union. Her manager was the one who gave her permission to approve the loan.
The original loan Banks requested was for $7,500. He was ultimately approved for a $3,000 loan.
Foreman said that she relied on the pay stubs, as well as the assertion that Banks was employed with IHI Consultants, to approve the loan.
Defense calls agent to testify
The defense called FBI agent Gwen Rosenthal to testify to the facts of the case and about the interactions with witnesses.
A civil suit was discussed between Banks and the credit union, and the defense argued that a satisfaction of judgement related to the loan shows that Banks acted in good faith and paid the loans back in full.
The prosecutor argued that the crime was committed when Banks submitted the application and that a jury can make a decision as to how Banks
Judge Langston disagreed with defense and bound Banks over for trial.
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