Schmidt's nephew: Uncle was 'dirty as hell' | News
LANSING, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) -- State Rep. Roy Schmidt's nephew told a friend he helped recruit as a fake Democratic candidate that his uncle was "dirty as hell," according to records released to the Free Press under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act.
A.J. Schmidt told 22-year-old Matt Mojzak in a text message that he shouldn't take a plea deal in an election fraud investigation because the state representative was "obviously ... dirty" and has "got a lot of powerful (people) behind him," the records show.
Mojzak received immunity from possible prosecution for telling investigators how Schmidt, R-Grand Rapids, used offers of cash payments to engineer his candidacy so Schmidt would face token opposition after bolting the Democratic Party for the GOP just before the May filing deadline.
Schmidt's son Ryan Schmidt, who along with his cousin recruited Mozjak, also received immunity for cooperating with investigators, the records show.
In the end, Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth -- who on July 17 released a scathing report detailing the roles of Schmidt and Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger in recruiting Mojzak to run for the Grand Rapids state House seat -- concluded no criminal laws were broken.
"At the time we did it (offered immunity), we had no idea where the investigation was going," Forsyth said Tuesday. "These guys all had lawyers."
The controversy has sparked calls for the resignation of Bolger, who has apologized for his role. It also has left Schmidt, in his second two-year term, fighting for his political life. Grand Rapids businessman Bing Goei has launched a write-in Republican candidacy to try to defeat Schmidt in the Aug. 7 primary. Democrat Winnie Brinks also is running as a write-in candidate in the primary to try to secure a spot on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The Democratic ballot in the primary will be blank because Mojzak withdrew.
Schmidt did not return messages left at his legislative office last week and again Tuesday. His cell phone voice mail was full Tuesday.
Forsyth said he didn't interpret the May 18 text message from A.J. Schmidt to Mojzak as a threat or an attempt to obstruct justice.
"I just think that's him talking," Forsyth said.
The messages said: "Ok, well obviously my uncle is dirty as hell, so make sure to not plee or ne thing, hes got a lot of powerful ppl behind him
"i dont blame u for wat ur doing tho, hes (expletive) dumb for all this"
The records Forsyth released to the Free Press included e-mails about the Schmidt affair exchanged by Secretary of State officials. Those records were obtained by Michigan Democrats under an earlier FOIA request and turned over to Forsyth by Democrats the day he released his report.
Secretary of State voter outreach coordinator Kristi Dougan, who, in addition to her state job, is active in Kent County Republican politics and a member of the Sparta village council, said in a May 18 e-mail to a co-worker that she "just listened to a voice mail from one of the 'brains' behind this issue," and she "can't wait to hear what he 'needs from me.' "
Two hours earlier, Dougan sent her co-worker another e-mail that read: "I can pretty much guarantee it is shady because I know the players involved."
Dougan didn't respond to e-mail messages Tuesday and last week.
Forsyth, a Republican, said it's likely other GOP officials were involved in what he has called an embarrassing fiasco.