Former prosecutor Clarence Gomery is in jail after a court imposed a $5 million bond for his release pending trial on charges that he tried to arrange to have attorney Christopher Cooke killed in a murder-for-hire scheme. The bad blood with Cooke is believed to stem from his representation of Gomery’s former business client in a heated litigation.
Gomery, 59, is charged with felony solicitation of murder — a bizarre twist on a career that included his service as a former Leelanau County prosecutor and Grand Traverse County assistant prosecutor. He is accused of trying to pay handyman Dale Fisher $20,000 to kill Cooke.
In 2013, Gomery faced Cooke in a business fraud case involving Fred Topous Jr., Gomery’s former business partner. The jury found Gomery committed fraud and malpractice and ordered Gomery to pay about $315,000 in sanctions for attorney fees and other costs. Gomery knew Fisher from his dock and hoist removal business.
The offer included not only the money but allegedly $1,000 to purchase a gun to be used to kill Cooke.
It always surprises me in these cases that defendants trust relative strangers with such plans, particularly a former prosecutor who had to deal with his share of snitches.