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Michigan State Police search home of former GOP consultant Chatfield chief of staff

Michigan State Police and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel are investigating a married couple with substantial ties to former House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering.

On Tuesday morning, law enforcement raided the home of Rob and Anne Minard in the Lansing area. News of the law enforcement activity was first reported by WILX News 10, a Lansing television station that has footage of state police vehicles at home.

Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield answers questions after Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State Address at the State Capitol in Lansing, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.

Asked about the search of the Minards’ home, state police and attorney general officials confirmed their offices were working together “in an ongoing investigation” and declined to comment further.

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Rob Minard served as Chatfield’s chief of staff while he was a lecturer. Anne Minard was legislative adviser and director of external affairs for Chatfield but continues to work in the House. When he left the House in 2020, Chatfield referred to the two Minards as family, as reported by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network in an article examining their relationship.

Rob Minard did not immediately return a voicemail requesting comment. A spokesman for House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chatfield is being investigated following a litany of accusations from his sister-in-law, Rebekah Chatfield. She says the former Northern Michigan lawmaker sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions, dating back to when she was 15. The alleged assaults continued until last summer, with Rebekah Chatfield filing a report with Lansing police in late 2021.

Lee Chatfield has denied the assault allegations. Through a lawyer, he said he had a consensual affair with his sister-in-law.

In a statement Tuesday, Chatfield attorney Mary Chartier defended the Minards and attacked Rebekah Chatfield again.

“The search of the home of Mr. Chatfield’s former chief of staff is the latest attempt to bring down a former Republican politician on completely false charges,” Chartier said.

“Mr. Chatfield has said it before, and he will say it again: he has complete faith and confidence in the people handling the funds. To his knowledge, all finances were handled properly and all laws were complied with. Ultimately, all an investigation will reveal is that Republicans and Democrats use these accounts equally and that the law has been followed.”

Michigan State Police confirmed its involvement in the investigation in early January, with Nessel’s office recently announcing that it was also participating.

In an interview with Bridge Michigan, Rebekah Chatfield accused the ex-president of sexually assaulting her inside the state Capitol.

The Free Press does not usually name people who claim to be victims of sexual violence, but does so here with the permission of its lawyer, Jamie White.

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White also raised vague but broad allegations of financial misconduct by the former president.

Reports from the Campaign Finance Network, Detroit News and others detail the ties between Lee Chatfield, the Minards and related organizations. The Minards ran a consulting firm paid more than $1 million by Republican lawmakers. Anne Minard continued to work under Wentworth while also working for a Republican political action committee based in Virginia.

Wentworth had previously issued a litigation hold, requiring all lawmakers and staffers to retain any documents or records that may relate to Chatfield’s time as a speaker.

Contact Dave Boucher at [email protected] or 313-938-4591. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan State Police search home of former Lee Chatfield staff