Federal Grand Jury Indicts Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland

A federal grand jury has indicted Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland on charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery.

The indictment alleges Leland conspired with one of his campaign workers, Elisa Grubbs, between May and August 2017, to solicit and accept bribes of $15,000 in cash and free auto body work from a local business owner. Grubbs has already been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery.

A statement from the U-S Attorney’s office says Leland is charged with taking a cash bribe of $7,500 in August 2017. That was less than a week before Detroit’s primary election.

Leland was re-elected to City Council last November.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Matthew Schnieder says in a statement, “A sitting member of the Detroit City Council engaging in bribery is an extreme breach of the trust of the people of Detroit that badly undermines their faith in local government.”

Wayne State University Law Professor and former federal prosecutor Peter Henning says judges are much less forgiving in cases involving those who have been voted into office.

This is an elected official who has been entrusted by the public with a great deal of authority,” says Henning.  “Judges look at this as one of the most serious white collar crimes that can happen.”

Leland faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each of the bribery counts, if convicted, and up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the conspiracy charge.

Click the “play” button under the picture to hear an interview with WSU Law Professor Peter Henning about the Leland indictment.

Image credit: Bre'Anna Tinsley/ WDET

About the Author

Jerome Vaughn

News Director & WDET Host, All Things Considered

Jerome Vaughn joined WDET in 1992 to help chronicle Detroit’s comeback and let people around the world know the truth about his hometown.

jvaughn@wdet.org   Follow @jvdet

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