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Police search, seize records from home of Chatfield aides

February 15, 2022 GMT
FILE - Then, Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield bangs the gavel, April 24, 2020, in the Michigan house chambers in Lansing, Mich. State police on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, searched and took materials from the Lansing-area home of a couple who worked as top aides to Lee Chatfield when he was speaker of the Michigan House. Former speaker Chatfield is under investigation after his sister-in-law accused him of sexually assaulting her for years, including in the Capitol and when she was a minor years before and attended a Christian school where he taught. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP File)
FILE - Then, Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield bangs the gavel, April 24, 2020, in the Michigan house chambers in Lansing, Mich. State police on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, searched and took materials from the Lansing-area home of a couple who worked as top aides to Lee Chatfield when he was speaker of the Michigan House. Former speaker Chatfield is under investigation after his sister-in-law accused him of sexually assaulting her for years, including in the Capitol and when she was a minor years before and attended a Christian school where he taught. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP File)
FILE - Then, Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield bangs the gavel, April 24, 2020, in the Michigan house chambers in Lansing, Mich. State police on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, searched and took materials from the Lansing-area home of a couple who worked as top aides to Lee Chatfield when he was speaker of the Michigan House. Former speaker Chatfield is under investigation after his sister-in-law accused him of sexually assaulting her for years, including in the Capitol and when she was a minor years before and attended a Christian school where he taught. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP File)
FILE - Then, Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield bangs the gavel, April 24, 2020, in the Michigan house chambers in Lansing, Mich. State police on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, searched and took materials from the Lansing-area home of a couple who worked as top aides to Lee Chatfield when he was speaker of the Michigan House. Former speaker Chatfield is under investigation after his sister-in-law accused him of sexually assaulting her for years, including in the Capitol and when she was a minor years before and attended a Christian school where he taught. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP File)
FILE - Then, Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield bangs the gavel, April 24, 2020, in the Michigan house chambers in Lansing, Mich. State police on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, searched and took materials from the Lansing-area home of a couple who worked as top aides to Lee Chatfield when he was speaker of the Michigan House. Former speaker Chatfield is under investigation after his sister-in-law accused him of sexually assaulting her for years, including in the Capitol and when she was a minor years before and attended a Christian school where he taught. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP File)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State police on Tuesday searched and took materials from the Lansing-area home of a couple who worked as top aides to Lee Chatfield when he was speaker of the Michigan House.

Chatfield is under investigation after his sister-in-law accused him of sexually assaulting her for years, including in the Capitol and when she was a minor years before and attending a Christian school where he taught. Her lawyer has also levied broad allegations of financial improprieties against Chatfield — a prolific fundraiser and spender — but has not provided many details.

Police searched a house in Bath Township belonging to Rob and Anne Minard, who were senior staffers when Chatfield, a Republican, led the House in 2019 and 2020 before term limits kept him from seeking reelection.

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Rob Minard was chief of staff. Anne Minard was director of external affairs and still works at the House as events and affairs coordinator. They ran a side business, Victor Strategies, a political fundraising and consulting firm that was paid nearly $1.1 million over six years by Republican lawmakers’ campaigns and committees connected to them, according an investigation by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Both Attorney General Dana Nessel and a spokesperson for the Michigan State Police declined to comment, saying the criminal probe is ongoing.

The Minards could not immediately reached for comment. Chatfield has denied the abuse allegations, saying he and his sister-in-law Rebekah Chatfield — the wife of one of his brothers — had a sexual relationship but were consenting adults. He has admitted having more than one extramarital affair.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Rebekah Chatfield spoke publicly with Bridge Michigan.

Lee Chatfield’s attorney, Mary Chartier, called the search of the Minards’ home “the latest move in an attempt to take down a former Republican politician based on completely false accusations.” She said Chatfield and his accuser had an affair for seven years, and the woman “has no knowledge whatsoever of finances involving Mr. Chatfield.”

“To his knowledge, all finances were handled property, and every law was followed,” Chartier said. “In the end, all that an investigation will reveal is that Republicans and Democrats alike use these accounts in the same fashion and the law was followed.”

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