January 17, 2020
LANSING – Ian Elliott, former president of Central Michigan University's student government association, has entered a no contest plea to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct following an agreement made by the defendant's lawyer and the Michigan Department of Attorney General.
The agreement was made after the attorney general's office discovered Elliott's case was improperly handled by one of its prosecutors, which ultimately could have resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges against Elliott.
"The contents of our investigation into former Assistant Attorney General Brian Kolodziej's conduct on this case required that this information be relayed to Mr. Elliott's counsel and that the defendant be permitted to set aside his original plea," Nessel said. "After extensive discussions with both victims, it was decided that the best resolution of this matter was to allow Mr. Elliott to plead to criminal sexual conduct-fourth degree, ensuring that he would continue to serve a year in jail and have various other conditions imposed during a lengthy term of probation after his release."
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Elliott initially pleaded no contest to one felony count of third-degree CSC and was sentenced on Aug. 2, 2019 to a minimum of 366 days in prison up to a maximum of 180 months by Isabella County Chief Judge Eric Janes. He was originally charged with three counts of third-degree CSC and one count of assault with intent to commit penetration.
Elliott's attorneys filed a motion on Jan. 10, 2020 to withdraw his previous no contest plea and vacate the sentence that was imposed as a result of that initial plea. The attorney general's office did not defend the conviction but agreed to set aside the conviction allowing for Elliott to enter a new plea to a reduced charge.
Under stipulations of the agreement, Elliott withdrew his previous plea in court Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. He then entered a no contest plea to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
He is in the custody of the Isabella County Sheriff's Office pending sentencing, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 7, 2020.
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The reduced charge and subsequent plea deal is due to the actions of former Assistant Attorney General Brian Kolodziej, who resigned in lieu of termination in September following the discovery that he had an inappropriate relationship with one of the victims in the Elliott prosecution, while he served as the lead prosecutor on the file. Immediately after Kolodziej's resignation, Nessel called for an internal investigation to review all of his criminal cases within the department. While that investigation is complete, the Michigan State Police is still conducting a criminal investigation.
Kolodziej was hired in September 2018 under former Attorney General Bill Schuette's administration and was assigned to handle criminal sexual assault cases. He previously performed a similar role while employed by the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office.
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