Federal authorities are checking two rape cases in an investigation of whether Macomb County, Mich., prosecutor Carl Marlinga accepted campaign money in exchange for legal favors, the Detroit Free Press reports.
In one case, real estate agent James Hulet was charged with repeatedly raping and drugging a teenage girl. Hulet’s attorneys secured several meetings with Marlinga in an effort to avoid jail time for their client. The attorneys and close relatives made the maximum allowable contributions to Marlinga’s 2002 bid for Congress.
Federal agents also are looking at contributions Marlinga received from supporters of Jeffrey Moldowan, a convicted rapist who received a new trial and an acquittal after Marlinga filed a court brief acknowledging flaws in the original trial.
Marlinga acknowledged he may have used bad judgment in meeting with Hulet’s attorneys and discussing plea deals. But he insisted he did nothing illegal. The final deal calls for Hulet to plead guilty to a lesser charge and serve at least two years in prison. The victim, who once wanted Hulet to get the maximum sentence, later said she didn’t care if he served any time.
Deals are often struck in first-degree criminal sexual conduct cases. Since Jan. 1, 2002, 161 of 243 such cases ended with pleas to reduced charges.