In 2014, Sheriff Hanson alleged that Prosecutor Rutkowski committed public misconduct and requested the Attorney General’s office investigate his allegation. On Monday, July 17, 2017, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office declared that they found “no wrongdoing in the handling of this matter.” After conducting an extensive and thorough investigation, neither Attorney General Schuette nor his investigators had any concerns on how the Special Prosecutor was appointed or how the case was resolved by the Special Prosecutor. The Attorney General’s office stated they used their “best investigators and criminal attorneys [and] conducted a full investigation of the allegations. They interviewed, and in some cases, re-interviewed witnesses, examined documents, and discussed the evidence.” The Attorney General concluded “the appointment of the special prosecutor in this matter was done in a legal, ethical and accountable manner by simply following the norm. . .” and “there was no misconduct by any public official in how the case was handled after a special prosecutor was appointed.”
The following are the essential facts: On June 21, 2014 Michael Knoblock was stopped and ticketed for Operating While Intoxicated. In the note section on the ticket the officer requested a charge of “Child Endangerment.” On June 23, 2014 Mr. Knoblock was arraigned on this charge and Prosecutor Rutkowski wrote on the back of the ticket “No offer at this time as People are consulting on Special Prosecutor.” Based on the initial facts of the case, on June 24, 2014 the paperwork requesting a Special Prosecutor was sent to the Attorney General’s Office. This means that within two days of receiving the ticket and police report in this matter a Special Prosecutor was requested. Both the ticket and the first page of the police report indicate that there were children in the vehicle at the time of this incident. These documents were included with the paperwork requesting the appointment of a Special Prosecutor. On July 2, 2014 the Attorney General appointed the Sanilac County Prosecuting Attorney as the Special Prosecutor. Once the appointment was made it was up to the Special Prosecutor to handle all aspects of the case including any charging decision and subsequent plea offer if any.
From the inception of this matter, Prosecutor Rutkowski has stated he followed the procedures as set up by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office in requesting the appointment of a Special Prosecutor. Further, upon the appointment of the Special Prosecutor by the Attorney General, Prosecutor Rutkowski had no further involvement with the case. Any additional charges or possible plea agreement in the Knoblock case were at the sole discretion of the Special Prosecutor. After their extensive investigation, the Attorney General acknowledged that in the letter stating: “Moreover, as already noted above, our extensive investigation into the matter revealed that, in our opinion, there was no misconduct by any public official in the handling of this matter after the special prosecutor was appointed.”
Because Huron County residents have a right to know what took place in this matter, a copy of the entire letter from the Michigan Attorney General that was sent to Sheriff Hanson is posted here online on the Huron County Prosecutor’s website. In addition, this press release is also posted online. Upon the final receipt and review of the investigative report, Prosecutor Rutkowski will discuss this matter with other elected officials who were also falsely accused of wrongdoing to determine if additional legal action may be warranted.
Sheriff Hanson made significant unsupported allegations against various elected officials through the use of unnamed sources to bolster his unsubstantiated claims. Even as the Attorney General’s Office was investigating this baseless complaint, Sheriff Hanson obstructed the investigation by refusing to reveal the names of his sources until he was forced to disclose the names by the Attorney General’s Office. One has to ask, why would a person making extraordinary ethical and criminal allegations refuse to give the name(s) of his “sources” to the investigators? Why would he obstruct an investigation that he demanded?
Huron County residents should be aware that the baseless allegations made by Sheriff Hanson against Prosecutor Rutkowski were politically motivated in the hopes of influencing an election where Prosecutor Rutkowski was a candidate. The baseless allegations started just days before the election.
Prosecutor Rutkowski has requested through the Freedom of Information Act the entire investigative report from the Michigan Attorney General. He will have further comment once this report is received.
In the meantime, as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the County, Prosecutor Rutkowski will continue working with the Sheriff’s Department and all law enforcement agencies in the County to fulfill his elected mandate by representing the people of this County and the State of Michigan in a court of law, enforcing the laws of the State of Michigan and to the best of his ability keeping the citizens of Huron County safe.