Rick Johnson's Alleged Sexual Entanglements: A New Low in Michigan's Political Scandals?

September 14th, 2023 Legal & Crime
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Former Michigan House Speaker Rick Johnson is under fire after federal court filings on Thursday revealed he accepted bribes during his tenure as chair of the now-defunct Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board. These bribes allegedly included cash, private jet flights, and commercial sexual encounters with an individual from the adult entertainment industry.

Johnson, alongside John Dalaly, Brian Pierce, and Vincent Brown, pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges concerning this bribery scheme. Johnson is said to have used his position to give unfair advantages to those offering bribes, such as a favorable stance on license applications and insider information about the Board's proceedings.

The prosecutors recommend Johnson serve at least 71 months in prison with a fine equal to the bribe amount, $110,200. The maximum potential sentence for Johnson is 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

During Dalaly's recent sentencing, his attorney emphasized Dalaly's non-involvement with the provision of the sex worker to Johnson. "I wanted to clarify that Mr. Dalaly had no connection with the involvement of a sex worker with Mr. Johnson," stated Raymond Cassar, Dalaly's attorney. Cassar's remarks suggest some had been speculating about Dalaly's involvement.

The prosecutors described the trio's secretive operations, noting that Johnson carried two phones to elude investigators and was cryptically referred to as "Batman" or "our friend". Such behavior, combined with Johnson's interactions with the sex worker, prompted prosecutors to label Johnson's actions as "utterly disgraceful".

The memorandum also mentioned a $2,000 payment by Pierce to the individual who had relations with Johnson. Prostitution, the exchange of money for sexual acts, is illegal both federally and in Michigan. However, Pierce faces no charges related to prostitution due to his plea agreement.

In April, Johnson admitted guilt and committed to full cooperation with federal investigations. His sentencing is slated for September 28th. Part of the unveiled scheme includes Dalaly's $4,000 monthly payments masked as "consulting fees" to Johnson's wife, Janice. Despite these revelations, Janice Johnson remains uncharged, as per Rick Johnson's plea agreement.

Mark Totten, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, hinted that the investigation remains ongoing, with potential additional charges.

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