1944 : Michigan’s First Legislative Graft Trial Leads to 20 Convictions

August 12, 2022 all-day

In 1944, a one-man grand jury, Circuit Judge Leland Carr, and special prosecutor, Kim Sigler, attacked the biggest payoff scandal in Michigan’s political history.

On January 22, 1944, 20 members of the 1939 Michigan Legislature and six finance company executives were charged with giving and accepting bribes in conjunction with two bills aimed at tightening regulations related to auto financing. On August 12, a jury convicted 17 of the lawmakers and three of the executives. Special Circuit Judge John Simpson of Jackson, immediately sentenced the twenty to three to five years in prison.

Kim Sigler would ride his grand jury fame to the governornship, and Leland Carr would go on to serve many years on the Michigan Supreme Court.

Source : Michigan Political History News, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 1999, page 7.

Leave a Reply