Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called a press conference on Tuesday to announce former Assistant Attorney General Brian Kolodziej resigned on Sept. 6 after admitting to having an inappropriate relationship with an alleged victim of sexual assault from April through August of 2019 during the investigation.
Nessel said that the Michigan State Police (MSP) notified her on Thursday, Sept. 5 of prosecutorial misconduct allegations with a victim at the center of one of Kolodziej's first cases.
Nessel said Kolodziej was placed on administrative leave within one hour of receiving the notice.
Kolodziej had prosecuted a former Central Michigan University Student Government Association president on sexual assault charges. Ian Elliott, the accused rapist, took a plea deal after another woman came forward.
“I asked you to be here because ethics, integrity and transparency in office and in government are incredibly important to me,” Nessel said. “I am committed to being as transparent with you today as I possibly can be under the circumstances.”
Nessel said Kolodziej admitted to engaging in the relationship and resigned from the AG’s office instead of immediate termination.
“It is important to make clear that I expect everyone who works here to hold themselves to the highest standards of conduct when working on behalf of this office,” Nessel said.
Nessel said the MSP have opened a criminal investigation in which her team will fully cooperate.
Nessel said she submitted information to the Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council, the Attorney Grievance Commission for review, as well as the court and defense counsel.
Nessel said they may change rules in the future to ensure proper ethics.
“Those standards require that all of our employees demonstrate honesty and integrity in the administration of justice and that their conduct always conforms to the ethical rules of our professions. Staff who fail to live up to these requirements will have no place in my department.”
Now the Attorney General’s office is reviewing all of Kolodziej’s past cases, Nessel said, to ensure the integrity of process and convictions obtained.
“To say that I'm horrified, disgusted, is really an understatement,” Nessel said. “Because in over 25 years of practice as a prosector and a defense attorney, I’ve never before even heard of a prosecutor involved in this kind of a relationship with a victim in a case, much less on a sexual assault case.”
Nessel suggested Macomb County, where Kolodziej served as a prosecutor before joining the AG’s office, review his old cases as well for improper conduct. Kolodziej was hired during former Attorney General Bill Schuette’s administration in Sept. 2018.
“This man’s actions do not define our department, but our response will,” Nessel told reporters.