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Ingham county prosecutor strikes plea deal

Ingham Co. Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Former Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney Stuart Dunnings pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor Tuesday in front of a Jackson district court judge.

Dunnings was facing 14 misdemeanors and one 15-year felony. The charges ranged from soliciting prostitutes to encouraging a woman to become a prostitute. Dunnings pleaded guilty to felony misconduct in office and one misdemeanor for soliciting a prostitute. He now faces up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

Andrea Bitely is Attorney General Bill Scheutte’s press secretary. She says the deal was about protecting the victims of Dunnings’ alleged crimes.

“It’s just so important to all of us in the Attorney General’s office that women feel comfortable in their community,” she said. “And it’s so important to us that Mr. Dunnings receives the justice that he deserves.”

Dunnings was scheduled for a preliminary exam, but instead accepted a deal worked out between his attorneys and the attorney general’s office. All other charges, spread out over three counties, are being dismissed as part of the deal. Biteley says they are looking to move forward with the case and work toward rebuilding trust.

“We’re moving forward without having to re-victimize victims the women that were already victimized,” she said. “We are moving forward with restoring trust in Ingham County for our local government officials.”

Dunnings was the elected prosecutor for almost 20 years before he resigned in July. Biteley said the attorney general’s office will ask the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission to permanently revoke his license to practice law.

The attorney general’s office will be seeking a prison term at Dunnings’ yet undetermined sentencing date.

Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement, “The system in Michigan is not rigged. We have one system of justice and the rules apply to all.” He continued, “Today we are one step closer to accountability for the defendant, justice for victims, and a chance to restore the public trust tarnished by a public servant who only served himself.” 

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