Chuck Rizzo appears in court after allegedly breaking terms of bond

Rizzo accused of intimidating key government witness

PORT HURON, Mich. – The man in the middle of the Macomb County corruption investigation went before a judge Thursday to answer for allegations that he broke the terms of his bond.

Chuck Rizzo could be sent to jail two months ahead of his sentencing date after he allegedly intimidated a key government witness. For now, Rizzo is a free man.

The government viewed Thursday's proceeding as an open-and-shut case. Rizzo is accused of violating the court-ordered guidelines of his bond. If it's true, prosecutors said he should go to jail, but that's not what happened.

As part of Rizzo's bond, he was told not to have contact with any government witnesses. But he allegedly initiated an encounter at the MGM Grand on Dec. 16 with a witness -- a former associate who has also pleaded guilty.

The defense admitted there was an encounter, but argued Rizzo called one of his attorneys first and was advised a conversation with the witness was OK if it was strictly to ask for the witness to meet with his lawyers.

Both sides have different accounts of what was discussed, so the judge decided he wants to hear from the witness and allow him to be cross-examined before ruling on whether Rizzo violated his bond and should go to jail early.

After the proceeding, neither Rizzo nor his attorney wanted to comment.

What's next? Officials have to decide on a date to hear the witness. They still haven't decided on a day, but it could be as early as Feb. 5.

Rizzo is scheduled to be sentenced March 13.

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