Ex-student government leader takes deal with lesser charge

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DETROIT (AP) — A former student government president at Central Michigan University pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor Friday, weeks after the attorney general agreed that a felony conviction for sexual misconduct should be set aside because of wrongdoing by a prosecutor.

Ian Elliott, who was sent to prison in August, has been transferred to the Isabella County jail and could be out by summer after he returns to court for a new sentence on Feb. 7, defense attorney Joe Barberi said.

It’s the latest development from an investigation of Brian Kolodziej, who was an assistant attorney general until he was forced out in September. Investigators said he had an intimate relationship with the woman who had accused Elliott of sexual assault.

Elliott, now 25, insists he had consensual sex with the woman in 2016 after meeting her at a Mount Pleasant bar. Barberi said Elliott pleaded no contest last year to third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony, due to mounting legal bills and adverse court rulings about evidence.

That plea was thrown out as part of the fallout from the Kolodziej investigation, clearing the way for a new deal Friday with a lesser charge.

“It was decided that the best resolution of this matter was to allow Mr. Elliott to plead to criminal sexual conduct fourth degree,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Barberi said Elliott was satisfied.

“We could debate whether Mr. Elliott should have been required to enter any plea after what Mr. Kolodziej did,” Barberi told The Associated Press. “But my client was much more interested in getting a conclusion with a misdemeanor and the certainty of a resolution.”

He said the state’s investigation showed Kolodziej improperly influenced witnesses. Kolodziej and his lawyer haven’t commented.

“A lot of harm was done to Mr. Elliott as a matter of due process,” Barberi said.