Decision expected soon in Fraser sexual harassment case

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A decision is expected soon in the sexual harassment case involving the Mayor and councilman in Fraser.

Mayor Joe Nichols and Councilman Matt Hemelberg are accused of sexual harassing city workers.

It was a back-and-forth exchange Wednesday in a Macomb County courtroom to what process will likely decide the fate of these two men’s political futures. 

Arguments were presented on whether or not a tribunal hearing, (a committee or panel brought together in a public area) to determine if they should be removed from office.

The attorney representing the Mayor and Councilman says this kind of setting would be unfair.

"The hearing itself is a huge unknown for my clients. We don't know what the rules will be. If there is objections, who will be ruling on that? Can do any discovery prior to the hearing? We have no idea," said Angela Mannarino, attorney for Fraser Mayor and Councilman

Her opponent fired back with a football analogy referring the Lion’s game on Sunday when Kenny Golladay made an amazing catch.

"What they want Bruce Arens to throw a flag before the play and call holding on the Lions. They're trying to say something is going to go wrong at this hearing, so we shouldn't have the hearing," said Rob Huth, Attorney

"There is nothing the shows misconduct in office, and that's what qualifies for a hearing," said Mannarino.

"The reasons why it rises to the levels of misconduct because you have elected officials in office by the title ‘Mayor’ or ‘Councilman’, they walk behind the counter, with the employees at the clerk's office or in the building department. I'm going to keep it G-RATED. ‘Not everyone can wear leggings like you. I'd like to bag that one over there.’ Other things like private parts. That's misconduct in office,” said Huth.

The attorney pushing to have the hearing says he has up to seven witnesses who can testify to the accusations.

The judge is expected to give his opinion in 24 hours.

Mayor Nichols is in the middle of his four year term and Councilman Hemelberg is seeking re-election in November. If they are removed from their positions, they would be banned from holding public office for three years.