Former US Attorney says he believes Duggan explanation in allegation of his outing FBI informant
MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. IFOX 2) - There are allegations of Mayor Mike Duggan leaking the name of an FBI informant making waves all the way up in northern Michigan tonight. The mayor responded to the accusations that the Mackinac Policy Conference centered on a federal bribery investigation around city officials.
The story broke in the Detroit News that Mayor Duggan may have disclosed a confidential FBI informant while that informant was investigating towing corruption in the city of Detroit. The informant got ex-councilman Andre Spivey to take a bribe on tape and eventually lead to Spivey getting indicted and taking a plea for two years in prison.
Duggan said he did have a conversation with Andre Spivey about this confidential informant. And at no time did the mayor know that he was supposed to keep quiet about their identity. The mayor did tell people in the Detroit Police Department as well as some in his staff.
Here's what the mayor said at a press conference earlier today.
"I went to the city Law Department and the Detroit Police Department, and advised both of them, because they had ongoing investigations with the same tower," Duggan said. "And then, our own management team immediately put together a plan to get rid of the no-bid towing permits for good and so all of us are working on it. Nobody had any reason to think this person was a confidential source."
Matthew Schneider was the US attorney at the time and was in charge of the investigation.
FOX 2: "Can the mayor disclose a confidential informant - is that against the law?"
"It's not illegal to do that," Schneider said. "I mean, we request members of the public and investigators to not do it. In this case, the mayor said he didn't do it. He didn't know that this person was a confidential source."
More coverage: Detroit Mayor Duggan says Spivey told him of taking money from tower, didn't know company was FBI informant
FOX 2: "Even if he knew and you or the FBI told him not to disclose it, is that a crime?"
"It's not a crime," he said. "But first of all, he said. I didn't know that. If he did know that, then, of course we wouldn't want that because it could compromise an investigation."
FOX 2: "And that would be an obstruction of justice?"
"If you had corrupt intent to do that, it would be obstruction, but otherwise it just would be sloppy.
"We should take the mayor at his word. We have no reason to think that he lied or did anything untoward? I mean, he said that he wants to get corruption out of the city of Detroit. Think about it this way. The mayor doesn't want corruption in his city. Why would he compromise an investigation on corruption doesn't make any sense."
Related: Clean up in towing program underway by Detroit police after cloud of scandal, probe
FOX 2: "Some say. That if you disclosed the confidential source, the investigation stops because (of concern for the) security of the confidential source or his cover's blown. Did that happen in this case?"
"Not that I know of in this case, but it does happen sometimes, but not every time," Scnhieder said. "Just because you blow a confidential source, it doesn't mean the investigation stops."
More: Detroit council passes ordinance to overhaul troubled towing system
FOX 2: "It's not good for you guys, though?"
"It's not good for the federal government, that's for sure."
Schneider said he thinks the controversy is a one-day story.
"It should be put to bed," he said. "He said 'I didn't do it,' let's just believe him and move on. I talked to him personally and I don't believe he lied to me. I believe he is telling the truth."