City settles with former suspect for $2.8 million

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published October 19, 2011


A man who spent 12 years in prison for kidnapping, rape and attempted murder before he was retried and acquitted of the crimes in 2003 has settled a federal lawsuit against the city of Warren for $2.8 million.

According to records held in U.S. District Court in Detroit, parties reached a settlement in the case filed by former suspect Jeffrey Michael Moldowan on Oct. 11.

Moldowan, now 41, was originally tried and convicted along with co-defendant Michael Cristini for the alleged kidnapping, rape and attempted murder of Moldowan’s former girlfriend in 1991.

The Michigan Supreme Court granted Moldowan a new trial in May 2002, after the validity of “bite mark” evidence introduced during the first trial was later thrown into question. He was retried in Macomb County Circuit Court and acquitted in 2003.

Moldowan filed the lawsuit against the city of Warren, its police, the county and prosecutors, and others in January 2005.

Cristini was granted a new trial in October 2003 and ultimately cleared of the charges six months later.

Both men alleged police withheld evidence that could have cleared them of the charges.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said representatives of the city’s two insurance companies made the decision to settle the case. He said estimates put the cost of fighting the case, win or lose, in excess of $1 million with the potential for an even higher financial risk.

Fouts said settling ahead of the trial would cost the city a $250,000 deductible, to be paid from the city’s insurance fund. No money from the city’s general fund would be used to pay the settlement, he said.

“This was a decision not made by me or any elected officials. To some degree, I would have liked to see us fight it. We had a good case,” Fouts said.

Attorney Paul Broschay, listed as Moldowan’s attorney in court records, could not be reached for comment at press time.

Cristini’s lawsuit against the city remains scheduled for February 2012, according to records in U.S. District Court.