Thursday, December 7, 2023

Former Wayne City Councilman takes plea deal

Christopher Sanders
Former Wayne City Councilman Christopher Sanders, 54, will serve two years on probation after pleading guilty to a single charge of attempted false report of a felony in a plea deal with Wayne County prosecutors.

In exchange for his guilty plea, charges of false report of a felony and conspiracy to commit false report of a felony were dismissed by the court. During an Oct. 30 hearing before Judge Donald Knapp in Third District Court, Sanders admitted his guilt on the court record. If he had been convicted during a jury trial, sentencing guidelines dictate  a minimum 2 years in prison and a $2,000 fine on one charge with a maximum prison sentence of 4 years. While Sanders had consistently rejected any plea deal, during the court hearing Prosecutor Matthew Penney said he would seek the maximum prison time possible should the case go to a jury trial.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges of obstruction of justice against Sanders alleged in an April 27 incident. Sanders was represented by attorney Jeffrey McCarthy.

Sanders was initially charged along with Jimmie Lee Chandler, 31, of Van Buren Township, in connection with the alleged planting of a starter pistol and fake drugs in a city employee's car. Charges filed in September 2020 alleged Sanders paid Chandler to break into the car of former Wayne City Manager Lisa Nocerini on Oct. 16, 2017 and plant a starter pistol and fake drugs in the vehicle. Prosecutors alleged that after watching Nocerini leave the Wayne City Hall parking lot, Chandler called 911 to report a false road rage incident and identified Nocerini's vehicle. Police did not stop Nocerini who subsequently discovered the pistol and suspected narcotics in her glovebox, she reported the finding to the Wayne police. An investigation by the Michigan State Police eventually led to the arrest of Sanders and Chandler.

Sanders was recalled from his city council position during a special election in 2018.

The plea agreement calls for Sanders to serve 90 days in the Wayne County Jail to be held in abeyance for successful completion of  2 years of probation.