LANCING – Court records show that Michigan police last week carried out a search warrant against the brother of former Speaker of the House of Representatives Lee Chatfield.
The search became known after Aaran Chatfield filed a petition with the 30th Ingham County Court, claiming that the search warrant was unconstitutional and allowed “Michigan State Police to launch an investigative fishing expedition.”
Michael Nichols, a lawyer representing Aaron Chatfield, said Thursday in Michigan Bridge that Michigan state police asked his client for the password to his iPhone while executing the warrant.
“We believe that the search warrant is certainly too broad and without probable reasons,” Nichols wrote in an email.
A hearing at Aaron Chatfield’s request was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday, but was canceled later Thursday.
“We have decided this. The terms must remain between the lawyers at the moment. So I rejected the complaint,” Nichols wrote in an email later Thursday in Bridge Michigan.
The Detroit news was first to report on a warrant, which means at least the second time in a week that the military has searched the property of those with close ties to former House Speaker Lee Chatfield.
According to Bridge Michigan, Lee Chatfield faces charges of sexually abusing Aaron Chatfield’s wife, Rebecca, since she was a 15- or 16-year-old student at Northern Michigan Christian School run by Chatfield’s father, Rasti. . Lee Chatfield was a teacher at the school at the time.
Through attorney Lee Chatfield, who is married, he admitted several romances, including with Rebecca Chatfield, but claimed that his relationship with Rebecca was by consent and took place when they were both adults. He resigned due to time constraints in 2020.
Nichols, Aaron Chatfield’s lawyer, told Bridge that he was trying to protect his client’s privacy during a difficult period of his life.
Nichols also noted a possible shift in his client’s position as Aaran Chatfield spoke directly to Bridge. In December, Aaron said he was convinced his wife was telling the truth that she had been manipulated as a teenager to be sexually assaulted, and was standing next to a woman he considered “the strangest man.”
On Thursday, Nichols called Rebecca “unfaithful” to Aaron while challenging a search warrant.
“We are trying to protect Aaron from unwarranted intrusion into his personal life, which is counterproductive to Aaron’s efforts to survive this period in his life,” Nichols said. – He learned that his wife had been unfaithful to him for years, that his great … brother, who was his idol, had betrayed him, and now he needs to go through all the changes that are happening in his path. We believe that the search warrant is certainly too broad and unfounded. Although we have not seen the testimony of law enforcement, we can not imagine what evidence of crimes against Lee’s finances may be on this phone.
In addition to allegations of sexual abuse, Chatfield’s finances are also under close scrutiny. He earned $ 95,985 as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2019 to 2021 and was “constantly absent” on trips, Aaron Chatfield Bridge said in December.
According to campaign finance documents, from 2018 to 2020, Aaron Chatfield received $ 33,747, and another brother, Paul Chatfield, was paid $ 28,596 from their brother’s company and three PAC executives.
This week, the military also issued a search warrant for the home of Bath Ann and Rob Minard. They were two of Lee Chatfield’s oldest employees when he was in the House of Representatives.
Serving in the House of Representatives as Director of External Relations, Anne Minard was also a board member of the Peninsula Fund, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Chatfield, according to IRS records. At the time, Rob Minard was chief of staff of Chatfield.
Michigan Bridge Investigation from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network found that in 2020 alone, the Peninsula Fund spent nearly half a million dollars on travel and food.
Because IRS rules do not require disclosing donors or explaining how the money was spent, much is unknown about how the money was spent.
While both worked full time in the legislature, Rob and Anne Minard also owned the consulting firm Victor Strategies. The PAC management of Chatfield, his company and associated super PAC paid Minards about $ 493,000 for the three-year period from 2018 to 2020.
In total, more than $ 1.1 million was paid to Victor Strategies from Republican companies and the PAC, while at least one of the Minards was also paid a legislative salary.
According to the representative of the House of Representatives, Anne Minard continues to work in the House of Representatives as a coordinator of events and affairs.
Mary Chartier, Lee Chatfield’s lawyer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, in a previous statement, she said Lee Chatfield believes all of his finances have been handled properly.
“Ultimately, the investigation will only show that both Republicans and Democrats use these accounts equally, and the law was enforced,” Chartier said.
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office, which is working with state police to investigate Lee Chatfield, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Editor’s Note: This story and headline were updated at 5:50 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17 to reflect that Aaron Chatfield no longer challenges the search warrant, a development that has occurred since the publication of the original story.