Ex-prosecutor Stuart Dunnings has entered a guilty plea to a felony charge of misconduct in office and a charge of soliciting a prostitute, according to a release from Michigan’s Attorney General’s Office.
The misconduct charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Attorney General Bill Schuette filed charges against Dunning on March 14, which after the charges Dunning resigned from office.
Schuette’s office on Tuesday announced it intends to seek a prison sentence for Dunnings on the charge of misconduct in office. Schuette also supports a permanent suspension of Dunnings’ Law License.
The charges against Dunning grew out of a federal investigation into a Michigan-based human trafficking ring which took place in 2015. The U.S. Attorney for Western District of Michigan filed federal charges in that case against human trafficking ring leader Tyrone Smith in July 2015. Smith was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison in May 2016.
Following the federal investigation into Smith, members of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, FBI and Ingham County Sheriff’s Office jointly conducted an additional investigation based on information provided by witnesses in the investigation of Smith. This information led to Dunnings, according to the statement.
This resulted in evidence that Dunnings, the then-Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney, engaged in commercial sex numerous times with multiple women in three counties (Ingham, Clinton and Ionia) from 2010 to 2015.
Further evidence showed that Dunnings also allegedly induced a woman to become a prostitute who had not been one in the past. This allegation resulted in the original charge of Pandering, which is a 20-year felony.
The release states, “in order to achieve justice and avoid victimizing the victim and her family, this charge is being dropped at this time. The defendant instead pleaded guilty to Misconduct in Office, a felony which carries a five-year maximum prison sentence.”