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Sheriff: Michigan lawmaker in jail had hidden handcuff key

House speaker has removed State Rep. Jewell Jones from his committees
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 10:51 AM EDT
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HOWELL, Mich. (AP) - Officers who escorted a Michigan lawmaker to jail say they were surprised when they found a handcuff key taped to his foot.

Authorities in Livingston County say the key was discovered Tuesday when State Rep. Jewell Jones was put in jail for violating bond conditions in a drunken driving case. Prosecutors accused the Inkster Democrat of violating bond conditions by tampering with an alcohol monitor on his ankle.

The 26-year-old Jones returned to court Wednesday to face new charges over the key. Defense attorney Byron Nolan said Jones “realizes the seriousness of the allegations.”

Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth removed Jones from all of his committee assignments on Thursday after the latest allegations about the handcuff key. Jones will remain a member of the House, but cannot attend any standing committees.

“Rep. Jewell Jones’ increasingly disruptive and distracting behavior in the months following his April arrest has eroded my confidence in his ability to conduct the people’s work,” Wentworth said.

He encouraged Jones to take some time to make changes in his life and take control of his actions.

“The Michigan House of Representatives will continue to make sure he has access to every service and every bit of support we have to help him on his journey,” Wentworth said. “I sincerely hope he finally takes advantage of those opportunities and gets the help he needs. The people he serves are counting on him to do so.”

Jones has been in and out of court since April, when he was charged with drunken driving, resisting police and other offenses. The charges were filed after he crashed into a ditch along I-96 in Livingston County and a prosecutor says he had to be “tased” and pepper sprayed.

In court Tuesday, Jones took responsibility for testing positive for alcohol on Sept. 3 and tampering with the monitor on Labor Day.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.