DETROIT (WJBK) - With his political career and his freedom on the line, Highland Park Senator Bert Johnson has broken his silence over the FBI and Michigan State Police investigation into his conduct in office.
He appeared in federal court, not to face a jury, but to ask for more time to prepare his defense.
Johnson's lawyer said that he needs more time to prepare the Senator's defense.
Officials have said they are ready to prove that Senator Johnson cheated taxpayers by putting a fake employee on his senate payroll.
When the Senate came to order there were very few persons in the room who expected to see Senator Johnson on the floor one day after the FBI raided his home and his Lansing office and walked off with loads of boxes as part of investigation that the Senator does not know anything about.
"At this stage it is just an investigation on my part as much as it may be one on theirs as well."
"In your mind do you think you've done anything wrong?"
"Well, that's one of the things we're talking over. We have to figure out what their even looking for.", said Senator Johnson
The senator said he is hiring legal council and is concerned for his family.
He argues he has worked to create a feeling of trust with his constituents.
"I'm an open book. I have no problem with working with anyone. I've worked very hard to build a reputation that people trust and that is why I'm here today."
The senate has had a number of financial difficulties including owing the state $4,000 in fines for the late filing of his campaign finance reports.
He was sued for $21,000 by an Illinois consulting firm. He had rent problems with an office in Detroit leading up to this critical question.
"Have your financial problems over the years created a situation where there might have been wrongdoing?"
"No, and I'm going to let my attorneys talk about that."
Senator Johnson's lawyer says the senator is innocent
Unless a plea deal is reached this summer, he will get his chance to convince a jury on August 22nd.