LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich. – Livingston County Judge Theresa Brennan pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of perjury, a 15-year felony, officials said.
Two lesser charges against Brennan -- misconduct in office and tampering with evidence -- were dropped.
Brennan faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Her guilty plea will require her to notify the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission of her criminal conviction, which would lead to future licensing sanctions, including possible disbarment.
Brennan is no longer taking cases after she was removed from the bench in June and prohibited from seeking the same office for six years by the Michigan Supreme Court.
“This defendant violated the very tenets we as a society hold dear: truth, honor and justice,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “She made a mockery of her oath of office and undermined the integrity of the bench. I am confident Judge (Paul) Cusick will sentence her appropriately.”
Cusick was assigned to oversee the criminal case against Brennan after all Livingston County judges recused themselves from the matter.
Brennan is expected to be sentenced Jan. 17.
The Judicial Tenure Commission revealed a laundry list of problematic charges against Brennan. They included misconduct in office, conduct clearly prejudicial to the administration of justice, and failure to respect and observe the law.
The list comes largely from the murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, who is serving a life sentence after his conviction. The case was brought to trial mainly because of Michigan State Police investigator Sean Furlong.
The Judicial Tenure Commission found Furlong and Brennan were carrying on an affair during the trial, and when asked to remove herself from the case, Brennan refused.
Republican state Sen. Joe Hune said her removal was a first step.
"I'm tired of this circus, tired of this miscarriage of justice," Hune said. "It's really terrible. This judge needs to resign."
He said his office has been inundated for years with complaints about her "nasty" demeanor from the bench.
"We have a charade, a black eye in our local judicial system," Hune said. "This needs to end."
Here is the full formal complaint against Brennan: