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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Charging decision likely soon for ex-Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield

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Authorities have been investigating accusations against former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield for two years (Bridge file photo)
  • Michigan AG Dana Nessel aims to ‘reach charging decision’ by end of the year for former House Speaker Lee Chatfield
  • Chatfield is accused of sexually assaulting his sister-in-law and is under investigation for the use of campaign and nonprofit funds
  • The Levering Republican has denied any criminal wrongdoing

LANSING — Former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield may soon know whether he’ll face criminal charges following accusations of sexual assault and financial misdeeds.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel previously told Bridge Michigan she hoped to resolve the two-year Chatfield investigation by the end of 2023 — and that remains her plan, a spokesperson said late last week. 

“It is still the goal of the department to reach a charging decision by the end of the year,” spokesperson Danny Wimmer told Bridge

Authorities began investigating Chatfield in December 2021 after his sister-in-law accused him of sexually assaulting her, beginning when she was a teenage student at the Christian school where he taught before entering politics. 


Rebekah Chatfield first publicly shared her account in a series of interviews with Bridge.

Nessel's office joined the investigation in February 2022 and took it over in September of that year after expanding the probe to include an examination of Chatfield's extensive use of secretive nonprofit political funds to pay for travel and other undisclosed perks, according to search warrant requests

Chatfield, a Levering Republican who was one of the most powerful officials in Michigan before term limits forced him out of office at the end of 2020, has acknowledged having sex with his sister-in-law but described it as an affair between consenting adults. 

He has denied any criminal wrongdoing


Nessel said this month that her office is working "expeditiously" to resolve the investigation and hoped to complete it in "short order." 

In a summer interview, Nessel told Bridge she thought it was important to provide a "sense of conclusion" for the public on a series of public integrity probes, including the Chatfield case.


“If we charge, of course the facts will be heard in court," she said. "If we deny charges, then there'll be a full and comprehensive report.”

Investigators previously searched Chatfield's northern Michigan home and raided the home of two close associates in an attempt to obtain financial records from his campaign fund and nonprofit political accounts, according to a warrant request.

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