Nessel ‘horrified and disgusted’ by assistant AG who resigned after alleged relationship with victim

Dana Nessel addresses MCRC on Feb. 1 | Ken Coleman

Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday announced that former Assistant Attorney General Brian Kolodziej had resigned from her department. 

Dana Nessel at a Feb. 21, 2019 press conference in Lansing | Michael Gerstein

The resignation came after Nessel learned last week that the Michigan State Police (MSP) had opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Kolodziej had an “improper relationship” with a victim in one of the criminal cases assigned to him. 

Nessel confirmed Kolodziej’s resignation at a news conference and said MSP notified her of Kolodziej’s conduct on Thursday, Sept. 5. In a statement, she said Kolodziej was placed on administrative leave “within an hour” of her learning about the allegations.

He admitted to the relationship, according to Nessel’s statement. He resigned on Sept. 6, the following day.

Kolodziej was first hired into the state attorney general’s office by former Attorney General Bill Schuette in 2018. He allegedly engaged in a relationship with a victim involved in the Ian Elliott criminal case while it was still ongoing.

Ian Elliott | OTIS photo

Kolodziej prosecuted Elliott, a student at Central Michigan University, for sexual assault. In June, Elliott pleaded no contest to one felony count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. In August, he was sentenced to between one and 15 years in prison. 

Kolodziej was present at Elliott’s sentencing, where Rachel Wilson and Landrea Blackmore — two women who brought sexual assault allegations against Elliott — gave statements. 

Nessel said she could not comment on the nature of the investigation into Kolodziej, nor if the relationship between Kolodziej and the victim was consensual.

“To say that I am horrified and disgusted is really an understatement,” Nessel said. “I have never before even heard of a situation like this.”

mennan williams
Attorney General building, March 22, 2019 | Susan J. Demas

Nessel said Kolodziej’s actions “do not define our department, but our response will.”

Nessel said her team plans to fully cooperate with the MSP during the investigation. She said the matter was disclosed to the Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council (PACC) in case MSP requires prosecutorial services. Kolodziej’s conduct was also reported to the Attorney Grievance Commission for review.

The Elliott case and other cases handled by Kolodziej will undergo review in order to ensure each defendant was afforded full due process rights, Nessel said.

“While the ongoing investigation means I cannot provide any additional details at this time, 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 in her statement. “Staff who fail to live up to these expectations will have no place in my department.”

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