Riddle Due in Court for Bond Review

Riddle due in court for bond review

GEORGE HUNTER, PAUL EGAN AND DOUG GUTHRIE
The Detroit News

December 23, 2009

Detroit -- Controversial political consultant Sam Riddle is due back in court today to learn if his bond on public corruption charges will be tightened, after a judge called him a "danger to the community" for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.

Riddle has been ordered to appear before U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman at 1:30 p.m. for a review of his $10,000 unsecured bond as he awaits trial on bribery-related charges that could imprison him for 20 years.

He remained jailed Tuesday night and faces another six years in prison on accusations he pointed a loaded shotgun at his live-in girlfriend, state Rep. Mary Waters, on Monday.

Riddle was arraigned on felonious assault and firearms charges in 36th District Court. Police sources say he pointed the gun at Waters when she caught him in bed with TaKesha Washington, 30, of Detroit and took out a camera. Waters was able to phone police, who arrested Riddle.

Riddle stood mute during his arraignment. Magistrate Renee McDuffee rejected his attorney's assertion that he posed no danger.

"Not only did he aim the shotgun, but he cocked it," McDuffee said. "That puts the shell at the ready, and put (Waters) in danger. I believe that Mr. Riddle is a danger to the community."

McDuffee set bond at $25,000 or 10 percent of that amount for Riddle to be released. He was also ordered to wear a GPS tether at his expense; is not allowed within 1,000 feet of Waters; and cannot return to the east side condo they share. He hadn't posted bond as of 9:30 p.m., sheriff's officials said.

"This is for the protection of Mary Waters," McDuffee said. "Any personal items (from Riddle's home) will have to be secured by a third party."

Riddle's attorney, John Minock, said Riddle posed no danger to his girlfriend.

"(Riddle) and Mary Waters still feel deeply for each other," Minock said. "I can only imagine the pressure they must be under."

Riddle waived his right to a preliminary exam within 14 days; the hearing was set for Jan. 19.

In the federal case, prosecutors have not said whether they will ask for bond revocation, or what, if any, changes in Riddle's bond conditions they might seek.

John Freeman, a former federal prosecutor in Detroit, said Riddle's assault charges would not normally result in bond revocation for the type of federal charges he faces -- although he said it remains a possibility.

If a federal judge wanted Riddle locked up while awaiting trial, the domestic assault and firearm allegations would provide a justification, Freeman said.

Riddle is scheduled to go to trial next month in front of U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn on extortion related charges related to his time as a top aide to former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers. He and Waters are scheduled to stand trial Feb. 2 in front of U.S. District Judge Marianne O. Battani on allegations they bribed a former Southfield city councilman. That trial date is likely to be pushed back.

Washington, who was arrested Monday on suspicion of possession of marijuana and an outstanding warrant for driving without a license, was arraigned and released on $200 bond Tuesday in 36th District Court.

She was expected to turn herself in to Roseville authorities on an embezzlement charge, court officials said.