WARREN, Mich. – Warren Mayor Jim Fouts spoke to Local 4 News on Thursday for the first time since the release of controversial audio tapes that allegedly reveal him insulting children with special needs, black people and women.
Fouts invited reporters to speak to him about the Warren State of the City address, which was taped and released on Wednesday night. When Local 4's Jermont Terry asked about the audio tapes, Fouts maintained it isn't his voice in the recordings.
"No, that was not me on the tape," Fouts said. "That was a manufactured, engineered tape."
Fouts said the tape could have been manufactured by Adobe software or a number of other things.
"Only my voice is identified in the tape, no one else's," Fouts said. "No. 1, I have the presumption of innocence ... I've already said that that is not my voice and that is a manipulated, manufactured tape, and No. 2, I have the right to confront my accuser, and no one has come forward."
Fouts said he "has no idea" who made the tape, but "the tape was released by Mark Hackel one day after I filed a complaint with the attorney general regarding the illegal cover-up of the illegal dumping of the landfill at Freedom Hill."
Fouts said hours after his complaint about the alleged illegal dumping was filed, "Mark Hackel said he got an anonymous tape from an anonymous person which allegedly was my voice, which I disagree, was not."
Local 4 took the tapes to an audio expert, who said it appears the voice belongs to Fouts.
Jermont asked Fouts what he would say to the people of Warren who feel they need to hear from their mayor.
"The people in Warren want to hear about thesState of the city," Fouts said.
You can listen to the full interview, from the beginning to when Fouts took off his microphone, below. The conversation about the State of the City address lasts until around the 11:20 mark of the video, and the discussion about the audio tapes follows.