Want to Advertise With Mike and Jon? Click Here to Learn More!

Mike & Jon New Logo Small

Search the Latest Local News

Judge dismisses PPO against Livingston County GOP Chair

A Washtenaw County judge on Tuesday ruled that the burden of proof had not been met and dismissed a Personal Protection Order (PPO) against the head of the Livingston County Republican Party.

The PPO was sought last October by Brighton attorney Sarah Cross, who said she had been harassed and her family threatened by Jennifer Smith, Chair of the Livingston County GOP.

Smith, who headed up the local Moms for Liberty chapter, filed to terminate the order, with a hearing held Tuesday in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, after which the judge determined that Cross had failed to meet the burden of proof that many of the online posts she claimed were harassing her were definitively connected to Smith.

While disappointed in the outcome, Cross stood by her claims.

“The Court said that I had clearly been the victim of what fit the definition of criminal stalking and harassment, but since I didn’t prove that she was the one making posts in shared groups or under pseudonyms that there wasn’t enough to prove she was doing it,” Cross told GIGO News. “The Court also stated that basically if it starts again a PPO can be filed in her courtroom and that she wanted everyone to know that the identity of the person of persons making the posts could be obtained by law enforcement via a search warrant.  I’m ok with this outcome.”

A request for comment was made to Smith, but has yet to be returned.

In the petition filed October 31st with the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, and granted the same day, Cross said Smith had become “extremely fixated” on her after she reported Smith to the FBI following her comments at a Brighton Area Schools Board of Education meeting in which Smith threatened members during a discussion over mask usage and quarantining students.

“We’re coming for you,” said Smith. “Take it as a threat. Call the FBI. I don’t care. You’re all either going to be recalled or we’re all coming for you. That’s what’s happening.”

Smith did end up being visited by an FBI agent, whom she told “she was upset about the school board’s mask mandates and that her statement was a warning that her organization would seek to replace the school board with new members through the electoral process.”

However, Cross said that since Smith “was investigated as a domestic terrorist by the FBI, she has become extremely fixted on me,” including that on at least two occasions in May and June of 2022 “she pointed out in public forums that I would be or often was alone. Again, the only purpose for making comments like that is to encourage people to harass me or to put me in fear for my own safety.”

Cross also alleged that at least twice Smith revealed her home address online, the purpose of which was “to scare me and to encourage people to harass me and my family.”

“In fact, we have been harassed,” Cross’ petition stated. “In May I had people come into my yard twice and try to take my dog. On May 10th we had people parked across the street from our house taking photos and videos of our house. Someone came onto my property and cut the cords on my outdoor lights. I’ve had to have security cameras installed around my entire home.”

Cross further alleged that on July 12, 2022 she was in her yard gardening when Smith drove by her house.

“She flipped me off as her husband screamed at me out the window of their car,” said Cross. “I made a post in a private group about the incident. Ms. Smith immediately began making posts claiming she feared for her safety and the safety of her family from her crazy stalker. I was at my own home.”

Smith denied that incident occurred.

Cross also said that Smith had also made posts about her business and her employment in an effort to actively get people to harass her and her employer.

“She has a history of this type of conduct,” she said. “To further incite harassment against me, Ms. Smith has made unfounded, public claims that I was stalking, threatening and harassing her children and that she feared for her safety. She stated in public posts that I ruined her life, got her husband fired from his job, and lost her children their health insurance. I never did any of that. All of those posts were attempts to stir up outrage to further incentivize people to harass me.”

Don't Miss A Thing!

Join the GIGO family and get updates on the latest Livingston County News!

Subscribe to Livingston County News Alerts

More Stories Around Livingston County

Byrum bows out of run for 7th District seat

One potential candidate to succeed U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin to represent the 7th Congressional District has announced she will not pursue the seat. Ingham County