Mich. Attorney General Acknowledges Affair

The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 9, 2005; 10:02 PM

LANSING, Mich. -- Attorney General Mike Cox on Wednesday tearfully acknowledged having an extramarital affair years ago and accused a political rival of threatening to expose the indiscretion.

Cox alleged the threat began with an associate of Geoffrey Fieger, an attorney who became famous for representing assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian. Fieger plans to challenge Cox in the 2006 election.

"What I did was inexcusable," Cox said in prepared remarks. "I am completely responsible for what happened. It was entirely my fault."

Cox, 43, fought back tears as he spoke at a news conference in Detroit. His wife Laura stood by his side and also wept.

Cox said he came clean publicly because a Fieger associate threatened to expose the affair if Cox did not stop investigating Fieger for alleged campaign-finance violations.

Fieger denied the allegation and said the person Cox accused is not an associate of his.

"Something sounds absolutely insane about what's going on here," Fieger said in a telephone interview. "How could the attorney general have so many skeletons in his closet that he could be blackmailed? Why is he subjecting his wife to this humiliation?"

Fieger, a former Democratic nominee for governor, said Cox should resign.

Cox, a Republican, said he told his wife about the affair in March 2003, a few months after beginning his first term. The couple went to counseling and attended a church program, and the affair is now "old news" in his family, Cox said. Laura Cox is a Wayne County commissioner and a former U.S. Customs agent.

"While the past is not forgotten, with my wife's forgiveness and our mutual hard work, we have put it behind us," Cox said.

Cox did not say when the affair took place or with whom.

Since March, Cox's office has been looking into a $450,000 television ad campaign that urged viewers to vote against one of the candidates in last year's state Supreme Court race.

It was not until June _ seven months after the election _ that Fieger filed papers acknowledging he paid for the ads. County clerks say those types of papers should have been filed months earlier.

Cox alleged that a lawyer named Lee O'Brien contacted a Cox staff member in October, telling the staffer that "Fieger wants me to deliver a threat to your boss."

Cox said he contacted authorities, who then monitored meetings between O'Brien and the staff member in which O'Brien said Fieger would do nothing if the campaign-finance investigation went away. One meeting involved Fieger himself, Cox said.

Fieger accused Cox of lying. A message seeking comment was left on O'Brien's cell phone Wednesday.

Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca said his office is reviewing the results of the investigation to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

Last month, Fieger sued Cox and two other officials, accusing them of conspiring to retaliate against him and deprive him of his free speech rights.


On the Net:

Geoffrey Fieger: http://www.fiegerlaw.com

Mike Cox: http://www.mikecox2006.com

© 2005 The Associated Press