In a shocking abuse of state power against a private citizen, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) asked if she could have a restaurateur who defied lockdown before she could join “Tucker Carlson Tonight” for an interview about her defiance.
“Do we know her whereabouts? We should just have her picked up before she goes on. This is outrageous,” Nessel said in an email to staff on March 12.
Those emails were obtained by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy as part of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request into a case against Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, owner of Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland, MI.
Nessel’s question was reportedly prompted by an email from Assistant Attorney General Eileen Whipple, who told Nessel about the planned television appearance.
Nessel openly stated her disdain for Pavlos-Hackney, and hoped that the state would use its full power against her.
“Should I be prepared to respond to this?” Nessel asked in a different email. “I hope she gets the full 93 days for this. (Is that the max for civil contempt or just criminal contempt?)”
Whipple responded that Pavlos-Hackney could spend an undetermined amount of time in jail.
“As to the length of potential imprisonment, since this is a coercive civil contempt the Court (as the Court indicated in her Order) can keep her incarcerated until she complies or it becomes impossible for her to comply,” she said.
In a further email, Nessel questioned what the Michigan State Police had planned for Pavlos-Hackney.
“Does MSP intend to go find her? Or are they planning to wait until next week?” Nessel asked.
Pavlos-Hackney’s interview aired March 17.
“It feels horrible,” Pavlos-Hackney, a Polish immigrant, told Carlson. “It reminds me like I’m back in my country under communist regime.”
A defiant Pavlos-Hackney said she had not broken any laws.
“They are not laws,” she said. “They’re just orders. And as you know, the judge sent me a warrant for my arrest without a bond. She violated my rights under the Sixth Amendment because I also asked to have assistance of counsel, which she denied.”
“Bad things become good,” she continued. “The good things like me running my business and serving the community and making a living becomes bad. And they want to put me in jail. Something is wrong with this picture.”
Pavlos-Hackney was arrested March 19, and released from jail on March 23.
The Attorney General’s office released a statement regarding the emails between Nessel and her staff, but failed to address their content.
“Ms. Pavlos-Hackney willfully violated the state’s food laws, public health orders and orders of the court–a dangerous act that may have exposed dozens of diners and employees to the virus following the discovery that one of Marlena’s customers tested positive for the virus within two days of eating there,” the statement said. “Ms. Pavlos-Hackney’s decision to then go on national television and flaunt her noncompliance compromised the state’s ability to protect public safety during a global pandemic and likely emboldened others to break the law.”
Many have questioned Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer (D), who imposed some of the strictest lockdown measures in America during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org