By ED WHITE, Associated Press
A lawyer says embattled Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway will retire on Jan. 21.
Steve Fishman tells The Associated Press that Hathaway filed the paperwork on Dec. 20. He made the disclosure Monday after a judicial watchdog agency filed a complaint and asked the Supreme Court to suspend Hathaway over a series of suspicious real estate transactions.
Fishman says the Judicial Tenure Commission was told about Hathaway's retirement in December. He says the filing of the 19-page complaint was a "gratuitous" move.
Federal prosecutors have accused Hathaway and husband Michael Kingsley of fraud in the sale of their home in suburban Detroit. While trying to negotiate a short sale with a bank, they put their debt-free Florida home in the name of a relative in 2010.
They regained the Windermere, Fla., home after the sale. No charges have been filed, but the government filed a lawsuit to seize the Florida home. The Michigan short sale erased a $600,000 debt.
The couple denies any fraud.
Attorney General Bill Schuette issued the following statement regarding the Chief Justice's resignation:
"Given the gravity of ongoing federal allegations and today's unprecedented Judicial Tenure Commission complaint, it is in the people's best interest that Justice Hathaway step down from the bench. Too many public corruption scandals have damaged the public's trust in government and tarnished our state's reputation.
"I expect Governor Snyder will move quickly to appoint a successor, and that the work of our state's highest court will soon move forward without further hindrances."
It's unknown if Snyder, a Republican, will appoint a Democrat or Republican as Hathaway's replacement. Hathaway is a Democrat.
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