Assault charges against lawmaker dismissed

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 15, 2016


Assault charges that Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield, filed against state Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, have been dropped.

Brown said Knollenberg grabbed her forcefully by the arm following Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s State of the County address Feb. 10 in Auburn Hills.

“After reviewing the investigation conducted by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, we found there was insufficient evidence to prove to a jury beyond reasonable doubt that an intentional criminal assault was committed,” Livingston County Prosecutor William Valliencourt Jr. said March 15.

Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton said that the office had filed a petition with the state attorney general to refer the case to another jurisdiction, which the state attorney general approved. Walton said the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office asked that the case be considered in another jurisdiction in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest.
The case was referred to Livingston County.

  “We respect the diligence and professionalism of the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office and Oakland County Sheriff’s Department,” said Layne Sakwa, who represents Knollenberg along with attorney Harold Fried. “We are gratified by the decision made by the special prosecutor as a result of the investigation,” Sakwa said. “We look forward to all those involved moving on while continuing to serve the residents of Oakland County and the citizens of the state of Michigan.”

In a prepared statement, Brown called the decision “shameful.”

“I think it is shameful that the Livingston County Prosecutor has declined to prosecute,” Brown said. “Misunderstandings and handshakes don't cause bruising above the elbow. It is not easy for a victim to come forward, and I can understand why so often violence against women goes unreported.We are sent a message that it is better to remain silent for fear of retaliation, smearing of reputation and the unlikelihood that anything will be done about it. But we must not remain silent. We must be strong and speak out and up. This is not an isolated incident. I encourage all victims to help themselves and future possible victims by reporting any crime committed against them,” Brown said.

Knollenberg served three terms in the state House before he was elected to the state Senate in November 2014 to serve a four-year term representing the 13th District, which includes Troy, Clawson, Royal Oak, Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Rochester Hills and Rochester.