UPDATE: Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth refuses to comment on lawsuit filed by Circuit Court judge
UPDATE: 9/26/ 1PM
Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth is told wilx.com he will not comment on the lawsuit. He says he has not been served yet and asked that all future questions go through his lawyer.
UPDATE 9/23 10 p.m.
Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina's lawyer says he is investigating other circumstances that would give Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth a reason to make a person attack against the judge. He could not release more information until the investigation had been completed.
"We want to hold them accountable," J. Nicholas Bostic, Aquilina's attorney, said. "When you have somebody in a position of authority for as long as [Wriggelsworth] has, you frequently see that they begin to think the process is about them instead of the citizens. I think that's some of what has happened here."
Bostic says he will amend the lawsuit if anything substantial comes up in his investigation.
Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina is suing Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth for retaliation and false light, which is a charge similar to defamation. The suit, which seeks a minimum of $50,000 in damages, accuses the sheriff of investigation Aquilina on obstruction of justice charges because she allowed a Lansing State Journal reporter to watch and record video of a knife attack inside a courtroom.
The attack happened on August 2, 2016. A defendant snuck a knife into Judge James Jamo's courtroom and tried to stab the prosecutor on the case. Two Ingham County deputies and a Meridian Township police office subdued the attacker. The incident was recorded by a closed-circuit camera. Two days later, Judge Aquilina allowed the reporter to watch and record the video of the attack on a monitor in her chambers. The suit says Ingham County Detective Charles Buckland, a co-defendant in the lawsuit, contacted Judge Aquilina and said he was investigating the release of the video.
The Sheriff's Office eventually asked the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office to charge Judge Aquilina with obstruction of justice. Prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer recused herself and the Attorney General's Office handed the case to Clinton County Prosecutor Charles Sherman. Sherman told wilx.com Thursday he has no timetable for making a decision. The suit claims Sheriff Wriggelsworth either leaked or authorized the leak of the fact that Judge Aquilina is under investigation.
The lawsuit claims the investigation was retaliation for Judge Aquilina's decision to release the video, for the defendants' embarrassment over the courtroom attack and for her refusal to recuse herself from an employment-discrimination suit filed by corrections office Meko Moore against the Sheriff's Office. The suit also claims Wriggelsworth and Detective Buckland invaded Judge Aquilina's privacy by falsely portraying her as a felon and by knowingly giving false information about her to government agencies and the media. The suit claims the judge's decision to allow a reporter to see video of something that happened in a room that's open to the public is by definition not a crime.
News 10 and wilx.com are working to get a response from Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth and Detective Charles Buckland. We will bring you updates as soon as new information is available.