GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) — The Michigan Bureau of Elections barred Genesee County Clerk John Gleason from completing any election duties as he faces criminal charges.

Gleason was arrested and charged on April 8 with bribing, intimidating and/or interfering with a witness and willful neglect of duty.

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Genesee County Clerk/Register John Gleason (credit: Genesee County Clerk’s Office)

Officials say the charges stem from an investigation into a marriage officiated by Gleason in December 2019. He is accused of performing the ceremony outside of his jurisdiction without written consent and harassing coworkers to validate the wedding and back date forms. Coworkers also accused Gleason of gender discrimination for his actions after the wedding in Shiawassee County.

In a press release, the Michigan Secretary of State says the bureau’s decision is to “ensure public trust in the county’s elections.”

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On April 28, Director of Elections Johnathan Brater sent a letter to Gleason, stating that he must refrain from duties including:

  • Performing voter registration responsibilities
  • Ordering election equipment, supplies and ballots
  • Training election inspectors
  • Membership in the Election Commission
  • Programming election equipment
  • Participating in voting equipment testing
  • Reporting unofficial results
  • Post-election canvass and official results
  • Post-election audits

“Our legal system presumes that persons accused of criminal conduct are innocent until proven guilty and the criminal charges you currently face could eventually be resolved in your favor; however, allegations that you have intimidated a witness to interfere with an official proceeding and willfully failed to perform a legal duty threaten to fundamentally undermine voter confidence in the integrity of elections in Genesee County,” Brater said in the letter.

Brater says the election duties will be completed by Chief Deputy Clerk Leslie Raleigh until further notice since County Elections Supervisor Kathy Funk is on leave due to unrelated criminal charges. Funk is charged with misconduct in office and ballot tampering in the August 2020 primary election when she worked as the Flint Township clerk.

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