Mike Cox (U.S. politician)

Michael Anthony Cox (born 1961) is an American lawyer and politician who served as Michigan's 52nd Attorney General from 2003 to 2011. He was the first Republican to hold that office since Frank Millard in 1955. Cox took office in 2003 and won re-election in 2006. Jennifer Granholm, who went on to become the Governor of Michigan, preceded him in office.[1]

Mike Cox
Mike Cox Summer 2009.JPG
52nd Attorney General of Michigan
In office
January 1, 2003 – January 1, 2011
GovernorJennifer Granholm
Preceded byJennifer Granholm
Succeeded byBill Schuette
Personal details
Michael Anthony Cox

(1961-12-30) December 30, 1961 (age 58)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Laura Cox
ResidenceLivonia, Michigan
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
University of Michigan Law School
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1980–1983

Cox lost the Republican gubernatorial primary election August 3, 2010, coming in third behind Rick Snyder and Pete Hoekstra.[2]

Education and professional careerEdit

Cox graduated from Detroit Catholic Central High School in 1980. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1980 to 1983. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1986 and earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1989. He worked for the Oakland County Prosecutors' office from 1989 to 1990, then the Wayne County office from 1990 to 2002, before being elected Attorney General.[3] Cox successfully ran for re-election in 2006, after receiving the Republican party nomination at the August Michigan Republican Party Convention. Cox left office in 2010 due to term limit requirements ironically pushed for by predecessor Republicans when a Democrat was in office. In 2011 he joined the prominent Detroit law firm, Dykema Gosset.[4] Cox recently left Dykema Gosset to start The Mike Cox Law Firm.

Attorney General of MichiganEdit

As attorney general, Cox took a prominent role in taking on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). Cox has opposed BCBSM supported bills and challenged BCBSM in court for the alleged transfer of nonprofit funds to purchase a for-profit company.[clarification needed][5]

In 2003, Cox created a cold case unit to investigate and prosecute cold cases.[6] Cox's team has had notable convictions including Coral Watts, Gary Leiterman, John Rodney McRae, two brothers who killed two Oakland County hunters, two people who killed Christopher Brown, six people who murdered Janet Chandler in 1979, and most recently, Timothy Dawson who was convicted of killing his wife.[7]

Internet Predator UnitEdit

Since Cox became Attorney General in 2003, he restructured the Child and Public Protection Unit to focus on aggressively protecting children from adults who would attempt to prey on young children over the internet. Cox's unit would identify those adults who would interact with children inappropriately and arrested more than 250 adults having one of the most successful units in the nation.[8]

In 2006, the unit arrested Detroit consultant Ken Gourlay after Cox read a story in the New York Times depicting the abuse of Mr. Berry in the underground world of child pornography.[9] In the story, Cox read that Mr.Berry was a Michigan resident and asked his team to investigate. Attorney General investigators found hundreds of computers with thousands of pornographic images in Gourlay's possession. Eventually, Gourlay was convicted of several charges including enticing a child to engage in sexually abusive activity and was sentenced to more than 20 years by circuit court judge Archie Brown in 2007.[10]

Detroit Mayor's mansion partyEdit

Cox played a role in aftermath of a party at Manoogian Mansion, then the residence of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Strippers were alleged to have been present at the party and allegedly assaulted; one dancer was murdered shortly after.[11][12][13] Citing no evidence, no proof, and no witnesses, Cox declined to offer a subpoena, effectively closing an investigation by the State of Michigan into allegations of the "wild party."[14][15] The Michigan State Police continued its own separate investigation.

Cox interviewed the Mayor with his chief criminal prosecutor.[14] The police noted that Cox insisted on interviewing the former mayor alone without Michigan State Police officers present, because there were allegations of media leaks.[16] State police officers have testified that they had strong leads that needed to be followed regarding the Manoogian Mansion party, that the state police believed that the Detroit Police Department was destroying evidence in the case, but "because of actions by Attorney General Mike Cox, they were powerless to stop them."[17][18] A state police memo indicated that they had wanted to interview the mayor and the mayor's wife, but because the attorney general had "shut down" the investigation, the state police could not get subpoenas, medical records or the cooperation of witnesses.[11] In response, Cox said that he closed the investigation after interviewing more than 130 people who stated the party never took place,[19] and called the accusations against him "absolute bullshit". Cox explained that the focus of his investigation was whether Kilpatrick's bodyguards were being paid illegal overtime to work the party. Cox also said that the police could have "went"[19] to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy if they wanted subpoenas. Cox stated that he closed the investigation without interviewing the alleged perpetrator of the assault because the allegations only involved a misdemeanor and the state police did not need to interview the alleged perpetrator. In addition, Cox said that newspaper reporters did not find evidence that the police did not find.[20]

Seven years after the investigation, the party has not been proven to have occurred.[14] However, after Cox ended the investigation, a records clerk at the police department has claimed that she saw a police report of an assault at the Manoogian Mansion.[21] The chief of police from a nearby city alleged that he was invited to the party. A witness at a hospital claimed that an assault victim arrived for treatment with what appeared to be the then-mayor's security detail, and the witness was told by a co-worker that the victim had been beaten by the mayor's wife.[22] A 9-1-1 dispatcher has also given testimony under oath in a civil deposition about officers who were dispatched to the Mansion regarding a disturbance. She said she was told by responding officers that Cox was present at the party. Mike Cox denied the accusation in a TV interview.[23] More recently, a woman who alleges that she also danced at the Manogian Mansion party has come forward and has sworn under oath that not only did the party happen, but that she witnessed an assault by the former Mayor's wife on Tamara Greene at the party. She also has alleged that several Detroit police officers were guests at the party.[24]

Civil RightsEdit

Mike Cox was one of the few elected officials to support the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative which was a constitutional amendment to ban racial and gender preferences for state institutions in 2006.[25]

In February 2003, Cox refused then-Governor Granholm's request for the State of Michigan to provide an amicus brief in support of the University of Michigan's admissions policies which allowed racial preferences.[26] After Cox's refusal, then-Governor Granholm submitted a brief in her capacity as Governorsupporting the University's position, not on behalf of the State of Michigan.

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative was passed by Michigan voters with a margin of 58%-42% in 2006 according to the Michigan Secretary of State. After passage, the group By Any Means Necessary challenged the constitutionality of the amendment in federal court to prevent implementation. As Attorney General, Cox immediately defended the constitutionality of the amendment and vigorously defended the amendment until his term ended in December 2010.[27]

In October 2013, the Department of Attorney General argued the defense of MCRI in the US Supreme Court.[28] On April 22, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.

Adultery lawEdit

Cox received nationwide press in 2007 when the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that adultery could be prosecuted as first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a resulting life in prison sentence. This unanimous decision was reached as a result of an appeal sought by Cox's office on a drug case that touched in part on this strange loophole in the law.[29][30] In November 2005, Cox himself admitted to committing adultery while accusing Oakland County lawyer Geoffrey Fieger of blackmail, claiming that he threatened to reveal the affair if Cox did not drop an investigation into Fieger's campaign finance violations.[31][32] Cox said his personal conduct was "inexcusable" and had reconciled with his wife.

Pursuant to MCL 750.31, however, only Cox himself, his wife, or parties to the marriage (if any) of the co-adulterer or adulterers with whom he committed felonies may pursue a complaint for prosecution of felony adultery. Cox did not recuse himself from the decision to file a complaint for prosecution of his adultery notwithstanding the apparent conflict of interest.[15]

Health careEdit

Cox joined nineteen other state attorneys general, all but one being Republican, in challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act after its passage.[33][34] Critics contended that this action was a political move because Cox was running for governor.[35][36] Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, a professor of law at the Washington and Lee University, has criticized this unusual move as being not only "frivolous" but a waste of tax payers' dollars.[37]

Same-sex marriageEdit

In April 2013, Cox became one of the first high-profile Republicans in Michigan to support same-sex marriage. Cox urged the legislature to overturn the 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions. Cox said his views "evolved", and went on to say "Usually, I hate it when politicians say their views have evolved, but I guess mine have," Cox said. "Part of it is I've just become more libertarian. I still think of myself as a social conservative."[38]

2010 campaign for governorEdit

Cox filed paperwork to explore a bid for governor in 2008, and was the first person to form an exploratory committee.[39] The Republican nominee in 2006, Dick DeVos, announced in November 2008 that he was not going to seek the GOP nomination in 2010.[40] In March 2009, the Detroit Free Press reported that Cox led the likely Democratic challenger at the time, Lt. Governor John D. Cherry, by 41-34%.[41] Cherry later decided not to run.

On May 27, 2009, Cox formally announced his candidacy for governor on Facebook and Twitter.[42]

Local and national polling indicated in March 2010 that Cox was one of the front-runners for the Republican nomination, potentially defeating his potential Democratic opponents in the 2010 gubernatorial election by comfortable margins in hypothetical match-ups.[43][44][45][46]

Cox finished third in the Republican gubernatorial primary, behind businessman Rick Snyder and Congressman Pete Hoekstra.[2][47]

Electoral historyEdit

As Attorney GeneralEdit

2002 General Election - Michigan Attorney General[48]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Cox 1,499,066 48.9 N/A
Democratic Gary Peters 1,493,866 48.7 N/A
Green Jerry Kaufman 47,894 1.6 N/A
Constitution Gerald Van Sickle 27,186 0.9 N/A
Republican gain from Democratic Swing
2006 General Election - Michigan Attorney General[49]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Cox (i) 1,986,606 53.8 +4.9
Democratic Amos Williams 1,605,725 43.5 -5.2
Libertarian Bill Hall 61,607 1.7 N/A
Constitution Charles Conces 36,477 1.0 +0.1

2010 gubernatorial electionEdit

Republican Primary - 2010 Michigan Gubernatorial Election[50]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rick Snyder 381,327 36.4
Republican Pete Hoekstra 280,976 26.8
Republican Mike Cox 240,409 23.0
Republican Mike Bouchard 127,350 12.2
Republican Tom George 16,986 1.6
Total votes 1,044,925 100


  1. ^ "2006 Official Michigan General Election Results". State of Michigan. Archived from the original on 2009-12-22.
  2. ^ a b "2010 Official Michigan Primary Election Results - Governor 4 Year Term (1) Position". Miboecfr.nictusa.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  3. ^ "campaign bio". Mikecox2010.com. Archived from the original on 2010-10-09. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
  4. ^ "Former AG Departs Dykema". crainsdetroit.com. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
  5. ^ Ansett, Pat (April 29, 2008). "Cox criticizes changes that Blue Cross seeks". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 8, 2008.
  6. ^ Donnelly, Francis X. (June 12, 2006). "Cracking cold cases becomes police priority". The Detroit News.
  7. ^ Deiters, Barton (November 6, 2008). "Murder victim's family relieved after Timothy Dawson convicted for 2004 murder of his wife". The Grand Rapids Press. Archived from the original on November 10, 2008. Retrieved November 8, 2008.
  8. ^ –url="Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2013-11-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (2006-05-16). "Another Arrest in Webcam Pornography Case". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Detroit man convicted in child porn case". South Bend Tribune.
  11. ^ a b "Looking Back At AG's Manoogian Investigation || WXYZ.com | WXYZ-TV / Detroit | Detroit News, Weather, Sports and More". WXYZ.com. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2010-03-04.[dead link]
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Timeline of the Mayor Kilpatrick Scandal — Timeline of the Mayor Kilpatrick Scandal". Detroit.about.com. Archived from the original on 2010-05-04. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  14. ^ a b c "Cox states case on Manoogian probe | freep.com | Detroit Free Press". freep.com. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  15. ^ a b "News+Views: Cox in a box". Metro Times. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  16. ^ "Looking Back At AG's Manoogian Investigation || WXYZ.com | WXYZ-TV / Detroit | Detroit News, Weather, Sports and More". WXYZ.com. 2008-03-13. Archived from the original on 2017-09-03. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  17. ^ "Detective Testifies In Greene Suit — Detroit Local News Story — WDIV Detroit". Clickondetroit.com. 2009-10-20. Archived from the original on 2010-03-13. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  18. ^ "Detectives Reveal Details About Greene Death — Video — WDIV Detroit". Clickondetroit.com. Archived from the original on 2010-03-13. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  19. ^ a b "Attorney General Mike Cox on accusation he interfered with murder investigation of Detroit stripper Tamara Greene: 'This is crap'". MLive.com. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  20. ^ "Oosting, Jonathan. "Attorney General Mike Cox on accusation he interfered with murder investigation of Detroit stripper Tamara Greene: 'This is crap'" Mlive.com Oct. 23, 2009". Mlive.com. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  21. ^ "Former police clerk says she saw stripper's police report of Manoogian assault | Grand Rapids News Archives — MLive.com". Blog.mlive.com. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  22. ^ "MANOOGIAN MANSION PARTY Ch 4 INVESTIGATION". YouTube. 13 February 2008. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  23. ^ "May 21, 2010: Mike Cox was at Kwame's Manoogian Party". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
  24. ^ Detroit Free Press, November 15, 2010 at pages A1 and A5.
  25. ^ "Street Fighter Stirs Up Contest for State CEO - DomeMagazine.com". domemagazine.com.
  26. ^ "Granholm brief to support 'U' policies". The Michigan Daily.
  27. ^ "AG - Cox Files Briefs in Defense of Michigan Civil Rights Initiative". michigan.gov.
  28. ^ Liptak, Adam (2013-10-15). "Justices Weigh Michigan Law and Race in College Admissions". The New York Times.
  29. ^ Jarvie, Jenny (2007-01-24). "Life sentence for adultery? Could be / Furor in Michigan when appeals judge says that's exactly what state law means - SFGate". Articles.sfgate.com. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  30. ^ Flesher, John (2007-01-19). "Judge's Footnote On Adultery Stirs a Tempest In Michigan". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  31. ^ http://www.theoaklandpress.com/stories/120205/loc_2005120201.shtml. Retrieved October 27, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  32. ^ "Mich. Currently, there is on ongoing investigation into Geoffrey Fieger's campaign contributions of 2004. Attorney General Acknowledges Affair". Washingtonpost.com. 2005-11-09. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  33. ^ "20 States Prepare for Day in Court Against Health Care Law". FoxNews.com. Reuters. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
  34. ^ "Judge urges swift action on health-care suit — Kris Wernowsky". Pensacola News Journal. April 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-19.[dead link]
  35. ^ [2] Archived March 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ http://www.freep.com/article/20100321/BLOG24/100321003/1214/BLOG24/Mike-Coxs-letter. Retrieved March 29, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  37. ^ "Health bill lawsuits are going nowhere - CNN.com". CNN. 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  38. ^ "Former AG Mike Cox pivots on gay marriage, says Agema's Facebook post 'dumb politics'". MLive.com.
  39. ^ The AP (November 6, 2008). "VOTE 2010: Mike Cox considers a run for Governor". WZZM 13. Retrieved November 8, 2008.
  40. ^ Bell, Dawon (November 8, 2008). "DeVos rules out 2010 run for governor". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2008.
  41. ^ Bell, Dawon (March 13, 2009). "GOP's field of 3 leads Cherry in 2010 governor race". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on April 4, 2009. Retrieved April 12, 2009.
  42. ^ "Mike Cox for Governor 2010". Mikecox2010.com. 2009-05-27. Archived from the original on 2009-05-31. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  43. ^ 1871media.com. "Poll: Cox leads Michigan governor's race". LegalNewsline. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  44. ^ "Republicans Show Startling Strength in Race for Michigan Governor — Michael Barone". usnews.com. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  45. ^ "Election 2010: Michigan Governor — Rasmussen Reports". Rasmussenreports.com. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  46. ^ "MI Gov Poll: Cox Takes Double-Digit Lead — Real Clear Politics – TIME.com". Realclearpolitics.blogs.time.com. 2009-09-25. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  47. ^ AP photos (2010-08-04). "National media comments on primary election aggregated". Mlive.com. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
  48. ^ "2002 Official Michigan General Election Results - Attorney General 4 Year Term (1) Position". nictusa.com. Archived from the original on 2014-01-29.
  49. ^ "2006 Official Michigan General Election Results - Attorney General 4 Year Term (1) Position". nictusa.com. Archived from the original on 2009-12-22.
  50. ^ "Michigan Primary results". 2010 Unofficial Michigan Primary Election Results. August 4, 2010. Archived from the original on December 1, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2010.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Jennifer Granholm
Michigan Attorney General
Succeeded by
Bill Schuette