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Genesee County Clerk arrested, charged with two offenses

Genesee County Clerk John Gleason.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Genesee County Clerk John Gleason.

Genesee County Clerk John Gleason has been arrested and charged with two criminal offenses, the county sheriff announced Friday.

Those charges are witness intimidation, and willful neglect of duty. The investigation that led to the charges reportedly stem from a 2019 marriage that Gleason performed outside the county.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, officials gave few other details. But Sheriff Chris Swanson said it was not the marriage itself that led to the charges—it was Gleason’s alleged effort to coerce or silence employees in his own office.

Tuscola County Prosecutor Mark Reene, who led the investigation after the Genesee County prosecutor recused himself, admitted the investigation was lengthy.

“But we're confident that we've got to the exact point we need to be today and we've got it right, and that's why these charges were authorized at the time they were,” Reene said.

Genesee County elections supervisor Kathy Funk was also recently arrested and charged with ballot tampering. Swanson said that puts the county in a difficult position for upcoming elections.

“When you have both the clerk and the deputy clerk charged with criminal offenses in two separate incidences, it begs the question, what do we do to maintain the integrity of the system?” Swanson said, adding that the Genesee County Board of Commissioners would make those decisions.

Gleason, a former state representative and state senator, was arraigned and released on his own recognizance Friday. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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