Clare County Review & Marion Press News

Defendants set to be arraigned for GOP spats at Doherty

By Kaitlyn Campbell

Three Michigan GOP lawmakers who have been charged with misdemeanors following two separate spats at the Doherty Hotel in Clare are set to be arraigned.
According to court records, Kelly Ann Sackett, 52, and Melissa Valentina Pehlis, 54, are both scheduled to be arraigned in 80th District Court in Harrison by Magistrate Steven R. Worpell on August 29 at 9:45 a.m. James Forrest Chapman, 63, is scheduled to be arraigned September 5 at 9 a.m.
Sackett and Pehlis are each charged with disturbing the peace and disorderly jostling, and Chapman is charged with assault and disturbing the peace.
Disturbing the peace and disorderly jostling are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Assault is a 93-day misdemeanor.
Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis charged the three defendants on August 11 after a lengthy investigation into the incidents at Doherty Hotel earlier this year. Summons were issued for all of them to appear at arraignment.
In April, a video of Sackett and Pehlis getting into a physical and profane altercation went viral after being obtained by Bridge Michigan.
Sackett, the chair of the Kalamazoo County Republican Party, and Pehlis, the Macomb County GOP secretary, allegedly got into a fight over state Republican Party leadership.
Clare police officers were called to the Doherty Hotel after Sackett allegedly knocked a cell phone and cigarette out of Pehlis’ hand in an apparent escalating battle between state GOP Chair Christina Karamo and former ally Matthew DePerno, who ran unsuccessfully against Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in the 2022 election.
Chapman is alleged to have assaulted Clare County Republican Party Chair Mark DeYoung back in July.
According to previous reports, Chapman allegedly drove to Clare for a Republican Party meeting, but was turned away because it was reserved for state Republican Committee members.
Chapman told the media that he and others had gathered outside the meeting at the hotel, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before trying to open the door to the meeting room by jiggling the doorknob.
According to a report in Rolling Stone magazine, DeYoung said that he heard someone trying to get into the room “and opened the door after seeing someone flip him the bird through the window.”
Rolling Stone further reported that DeYoung told the Detroit News over the phone from the emergency room at MyMichigan Medical Center-Clare, where he was being treated for apparent genital injuries, that Chapman kicked him when he opened the door.
Bodycam footage taken by Clare police was also released on Monday, which shows surveillance video of the fight. The video shows two men, DeYoung and Chapman, get into a scuffle. One man tackles the other to the ground, and a struggle continues before the man is lifted off the other.

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