News (AP) - Patterson files petition for one man grand jury

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson filed his petition last Friday asking Oakland County Circuit Court to impanel a one man grand jury to investigate allegations of fraudulent "Tea Party" candidate filings.

Patterson announced at a news conference last Wednesday that based on information uncovered by Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson, there is a belief that Jason Bauer, who resigned the previous Sunday from his post as political director for the Oakland County Democratic Party, may have used his office of notary public to validate candidate filings of questionable "Tea Party" candidates. If found to be true, Bauer--and possibly others--could face charges such as perjury, forgery, violations of the notary public act, and obstruction of justice.

"The one man grand jury is a very powerful tool that will be capable of getting to the bottom of these dubious 'Tea Party' candidates," Patterson said.

A one man grand jury has broad powers including the issuing of subpoenas; granting of immunity to witnesses; holding witnesses in contempt; and at the conclusion, handing down indictments if supported by the evidence. As with all grand juries, the inquiry is conducted in secret for the duration the grand jury is impaneled.

Now that the petition is filed in Circuit Court, the whole bench will gather to decide whether to impanel a one man grand jury. If the judges choose to grant the petition, they will appoint one of their members to serve as grand juror for six months. There is no statutory timetable for the court to rule on the petition.

"This matter is now in the hands of the Oakland County Circuit Court bench. I trust in its wisdom to determine what happens next," said Patterson.

Published: Tue, Aug 31, 2010