My Favorite Recent Column

​​​​​Risks of cheating on your wife range from embarrassing your family to maybe catching disease or maybe catching a 'crazy'

   "Regret is not rape," Frank Manley told jurors during Thursday's opening statement in the unjust rape and kidnapping charge against Mateen Cleaves.

   The above "unjust" description is putting it mildly about the case against the former all-state basketball star from the old Flint Northern High School who went on to become an All-American at Michigan State before playing on four NBA teams and then playing professionally overseas. Cleaves, who led MSU to its last national championship in 2000, was a national TV analyst for NCAA basketball at the time of his arrest as March Madness began in 2015. He was arrested for an incident that took place in September of 2015.

   "She wanted a celebrity hook-up," Manley insisted about a beautiful woman in her mid-20's who got drunk at a Grand Blanc Township bar after a charity golf outing and got into a vehicle four years ago with Cleaves, now 41. The ride ended at a motel in Mundy Township. Video evidence will show this so-called victim fixing her hair in the mirror on the passenger side visor as Cleaves went inside to pay for a room. He left the car engine running, which kinda makes kidnapping go out the window in my book.

   Manley called the encounter "consensual sex" because he says that's what the young woman wanted when texting away at the former basketball star for a few hours to convince Cleaves to meet her with friends at Sweetwater Bar & Grill in Grand Blanc.

   "Women throw themselves at professional athletes all the time," Manley told the jury. He explained how cheating on a wife can risk ruining a marriage, wrecking a family and bringing embarrassment to one who gives into the temptation of a beautiful woman. "Cheating on your wife is the only crime my client committed and that's not against the law," Manley said. "He embarrassed himself, his family."

   He also lost a good-paying gig as a TV analyst for college basketball games on CBS. Fox TV Detroit Sports ended his job on their broadcasts for Detroit PIstons' games. All without Cleaves being convicted in a court of law.

   So much for the old adage that you are presumed innocent in America until found guilty.

   Too many TV newscasters are caught up in the "Me Too" movement and much of the slanted media coverage would make Cleaves seem guilty. Providing fair coverage wouldn't fit the narrative of their rush to add a touch of sensationalism to ignore facts.

   The facts are clear to me.

   They will be to the jury, too, after hearing all the evidence — or lack of it.

   After watching this so-called victim testify at the preliminary exam when her story changed more times than they change pitchers these days at a Detroit Tigers' game, my advice for his defense attorney team is to stop calling her a victim. She's a complainant.

   Perhaps she should become a defendant for perjury when this trial ends.

  Her story at the preliminary exam had more holes in it than Swiss cheese. She walked into the courtroom near perfect 10 status in beauty, but the rating slipped to the "1" rating when she opened her mouth.

   "When you cheat, you risk catching a disease, you risk catching a crazy," Manley told jurors. "My client, Mateen Cleaves, caught a crazy."

   It was a great line in the annals of Metro Flint area defense attorney opening statements I've heard in my time. Manley imprinted in the minds of jurors exactly what he's trying to prove this case is all about — a drunken woman going after one of our area's most famous celebrity types, heading to a motel with him and then letting regret turn into a strange blend of crazy.

   At least that's how Manley is explaining things to the jury. He has been described before in this space a few times as one of the best lawyers in all of America. He's the premiere guy in the Metro Flint area if you need a defense attorney.

   Just last week, he prevailed in a case many of his peers insisted was impossible to win. Manley won a not guilty verdict in the case where a truck driver rear-ended a vehicle on I-69 in a construction zone as he was approaching the Swartz Creek area last year, killing a father and his 3-year-old child.

   Manley told jurors how an "accident" is called an "accident" because it wasn't something done on purpose. He also pulled out a 911 call just minutes before the fatal crash when a motorist warned that the construction zone wasn't well marked and so unsafe that someone could crash.

   He had little time to celebrate the victory, marching right back into the local news spotlight with the Cleaves trial. It's a case that has not only captivated the local media, but it has attracted statewide headlines and national attention, too. ESPN had a reporter at Thursday's opening day of testimony.

   Following two days of jury selection that was closed to the public by Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Celeste Bell, opening arguments were presented first inside her court room on Thursday morning.

   It's a terrible travesty that charges were ever filed. A miscarriage of justice. That's how I've described it since before a judge tossed out the case at the preliminary exam stage.

   Veteran lawyers tell me that happens maybe once every 10,000 cases or so.

   Lawyers will tell you a peanut butter sandwich can be bound over. Only an ant hill of evidence is needed to send a case to circuit court for trial.

   Yet it didn't happen in this case.

   Manley convinced former Genesee County 67th District Court Judge Cathy Dowd there wasn't sufficient evidence to bind over the case to Genesee County Circuit Court, yet Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy's office appealed the decision.

   It's a political case.

   Judge Dowd dismissing the case at the preliminary exam was an embarrassing blow to Worthy.

   Appealing Judge Dowd's decision was to justify saying it wasn't a political stunt to bring charges during March Madness for maximum attention. The promo spots for NCAA games had long displayed Cleaves on the screen with tears streaming down his cheeks as One Shining Moment blasts as the theme song of prevailing at the end of March Madness. Cleaves was a big target.

   He was a convenient target for Worthy.

   She needed a way to strike back against a tidal wave of bad publicity.

   it's my view that Worthy's work was designed to help her battle national headlines about thousands of untested rape kids her office had on its hands after they stacked up at Detroit's police evidence room. Worthy wanted to show she was "tough on rapists" and went after a big name guy. A famous guy. The biggest problem was that she went after the one case in her pile that is the least likely to win. In fact, her decision is a slap in the face to rape victims who had their evidence stacked up in storage. Untested for years. Forgotten.

   Worthy didn't try to get justice for any of them until the national media picked up the story and piled on after Detroit's newspapers, TV stations and radio stations made life difficult for Worthy around town for a bit. How could anyone ignore so many rape victims who wanted justice?

   Well, she would turn over a new leaf and be tough on rape suspects — starting with Mateen Cleaves. That's how I interpret her behavior.

   When Judge Dowd delivered the ultimate kind of embarrassment by not even letting the case get to a jury, Worthy had no choice but to react by appealing the decision. She had a worse political nightmare on her hands because what kind of tough prosecutor would ever bring a charge so weak that it can't even survive the preliminary exam test?

   In what Yours Truly views as a horrible miscarriage of justice, former Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Archie Hayman reversed Judge Dowd's decision. He went against the judge who heard the unconvincing claims of Worthy's seemingly unstable assistant prosecutor. She watched video evidence that supported Cleaves. She judged witnesses as unreliable.

   Judge Dowd said exactly that about the video evidence and the testimony by witnesses. The "unstable" crack is my label but what kind of stable attorney can be threatened with "time out" for not acting professionally. The lawyer kind of time out is contempt of court, and we witnessed a few times when Judge Dowd threatened to put Worthy's Assistant Prosecutor, Lisa Lenzy, in a jail cell for her courtroom behavior. Once, the handcuffs of a deputy actually came off his belt clip before one of Lenzy's fellow team members at the prosecution table talked the judge out of arresting Lenzy, and calmed down their colleague.

   I'm waiting for her to object to the color of Manley's tie. Anybody in the courtroom, especially jurors, can sense she was already quickly getting under the skin of Judge Bell with constant objections to any question Manley asked during the first day of testimony.

   Manley's first day performance drew rave reviews from some of Genesee County's top lawyers who watched in an overflow viewing room one floor above Judge Bell's courtroom. Tom Pabst and Glenn Lenhoff were both there — two of the area's best civil attorneys who were drooling over the prospects of representing Cleaves in a civil case after the not guilty verdict comes in a few weeks from now. Dean Yeotis, another prominent civil attorney, was on hand. So, too, were two others who are among the area's top local defense attorneys behind Manley — his brother Mike Manley and Jay Clothier. Other lawyers popped into the court room or upstairs in the overflow room from time to time during Thursday's proceedings.

   The courtroom was packed all day with some of Cleaves' supporters unable to get inside.

   Flint City Councilman Eric Mays sat in the front row all day and a parade of Cleaves' supporters thanked him for attending during breaks in the case.

   Councilman Mays says he thinks it's a "bad case" and noted, too, how Cleaves has been a role model to Flint's young people in the tough neighborhoods. His story was an inspiration to them. He rose up from the north end of Flint to become an All-American at MSU, a national champion and a first round draft choice in the NBA.

   Mateen Cleaves gave back to our community, too.

   His "One Goal, One Passion" program generated thousands of dollars for needy children at the holidays in Flint, and around our state.

  He gave clinics and inspired youngsters to chase their dreams, work hard in the classroom and believe in themselves.

   He generously gave of his time and was quick to lend his name to help any worthy cause raise money to help kids.

   That;s what he was doing one fall day in 2015 out at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc Township. He and Detroit Pistons' broadcaster George Blaha were the celebrity stars used to attract a crowd for a charity golf event to benefit Whaley Children's Center in Flint. It's one of three major events every year that raise funds to operate Whaley's home for abused children.

   An unprofessional group of Whaley employees, including the complainant, went drinking after the event at a nearby bar and convinced Cleaves to join them. Testimony will reveal how the complainant hopped into his car after the drinking was done, stood up in the seat and poked her body through the moon roof while raising her hands and allegedly told Cleaves at one point during the ride how she "had been with ballers before." She admitted on the witness stand during the preliminary stand that she noticed during the ride how her phone had died and she asked Cleaves to use his charger, yet an earlier version insisted she didn't remember getting into the car or riding to the motel. Her story kept changing.

   She also recalled stopping at a gas station and borrowing a clerk's phone to go into the restroom to call her boyfriend for help. Manley mentioned during his opening statement Thusday how the place was "lit up like Yankee Stadium" and offered plenty of opportunity to yell for help, if this was kidnapping.

   She testified during the preliminary exam that when Cleaves opened the restroom door and told her it was time to go, she left with him. At another point, she said she didn't remember riding from the gas station to the nearby motel. Watching a video of herself fixing her hair in the visor mirror of the passenger seat, Manley asked why she didn't escape while Cleaves left the motor running to go inside and pay for the room. She stunned everyone when countering how she wasn't sure it was her in the video and she didn't remember it.

   The next thing she remembered, according to her testimony at the preliminary exam, was being naked on the bed with Cleaves on top of her. At another point, she remembered Cleaves kissing her and admitted "kissing him back." She didn't remember how she got naked. Cleaves' story to police was that she went into the bathroom and came out completely naked, then began puking and ran out of the room as he also got naked.

   Cleaves is captured on video running out of the room and witnesses will testify how he yelled, "You're naked. You're naked" before grabbing her and leading her back inside the room. What happened next, according to her testimony last year and her story to police, was an assault. She testified how she "went along with it" and never said, "No" although also saying she didn't remember how she wound up on the bed with Cleaves on top of her. When realizing he was moving her panties to the side to have sex with her, she claims to have thrown him off the bed and ran out of the room again. She forgot to explain how she got her underwear back on as revealed by the motel video surveillance.

  Quite a trick, Manley argued during his opening statement Thursday to the jury when revealing how cell phone evidence will show that his client made numerous phone calls during the short time they were back inside the room. He says Cleaves was trying to get her dressed, and video evidence indeed shows she had more clothes on every time she left the room.

   "So the prosecutor wants you to believe he sexually assaulted her while making numerous phone calls and trying to get her dressed," Manley said. "He was a professional athlete, but that would be quite a trick."

  "Looney" LInzy made absolutely no sense with anything she said in her opening statement. As the first day of calling witnesses to the stand progressed, she did enough yelling and screaming to make sure every juror doesn't like her already. By early next week, they will hate her. Trust me on it.

   Mateen Cleaves will soon be cleared.

​   But where does he go to get his reputation back?

   Well, not far. Plenty of prominent civil lawyers are waiting in the wings to unleash a civil suit unlike any civil suit we've ever seen in the Metro Flint area. Mundy Township folks may be calling him Mayor Mateen after they get done suing the pants off all the people that taxpayers there elected to run their police department. Their own cops will testify against them, and one (Officer Ogle) is already suing them over this incident. A special thanks to Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton for recusing his office and letting Worthy take the case, since all the taxpayers of Genesee County will now pay dearly for her mistakes. And Worthy? If ever there was a case to purge through prosecutorial immunity, this is it. The big time PR of going after a big name rapist was exactly what was needed to rescue her political career after all the untested rape kits piled up in Detroit. Unfortunately, she might not get much cash out of her. One of her scandals in office was how she lost a house to foreclosure when unable to make ends meet on her $156,000 annual salary.


​Mike Killbreath hosts The Morning Gazette Radio Show weekdays from 8 am until 9:30 am on He also hosts The Daily Gazette Sports Weekend Show every Saturday from 10 am until noon, and The Daily Gazette Sports Night Show weekdays from 6 pm until 7 pm.


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Mateen Cleaves case offers lots of courtroom drama with best defense attorney in America in corner of Flint's former MSU great

Mateen Cleaves case goes to Judge Archie Hayman for ruling on appeal of earlier dismissal


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Meet Mike: Our award-winning Executive Editor

Mike Killbreath is a veteran newspaper man who began hosting a radio show in 2011. He currently serves as Executive Editor at The Daily Gazette and at My AM Advantage while hosting "The Morning Gazette Radio Show" on the local radio air waves live every weekday morning from 8 am until 9:30 am. Mike's background includes winning awards at the state and national levels for investigative reporting, local columns, feature writing, sports writing and sports columns. He has also served as President at the Flint Area Chamber of Commerce since 2011 and has served on its Executive Board since mid-2010. He also counts experience on other local Chamber of Commerce boards and has served for many years on numerous civic groups and non-profit organizations. Mike also hosts the longest-running local sports talk show on the local air waves with his Saturday 10 am broadcast of The Daily Gazette Sports Weekend Show. He talks sports every weeknight, too, on The Michigan Sports Zone Show and The Daily Gazette Sports Night Show. You can find Mike's programs by clicking to for links to them.

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Archive of "Most Read" Recent Editor's Notebook columns

The Daily Gazette 

Editor's Notebook

​​​​​Councilman apologizes for vulgar social media behavior; Colleagues suggest 'staying off Facebook'

   The circus activity at Flint City Council meetings reached what may be an all-time low while playing out on social media during a 10-day window before election day on Tuesday. Things didn't get any better when council members met Wednesday for a committee meeting

  They put one member of Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver's administration under oath. The mayor sent an attorney with him to talk to the executive branch in its effort to ask questions about an issue that shined a national spotlight on the city over bid-rigging allegations. 

   It was also the first time council members had met since a couple of social media firestorms involving two of their colleagues. One (8th Ward Councilman Allan Griggs) was asked to resign by two citizens during the public comment portion of the meeting, including community activist Arthur Woodson. READ MORE

Club 69 'nothing' compared to latest gaffe uncovered by Flint's mayor: She wrote letter of support for disgraced UAW leader Jewell

   ​If any strong union folks were tempted to ignore our Endorsement Monday recommendations for Tuesday's voting in Flint's mayoral race, they can now be jolted into paying attention. Monday's big story was Flint's mayor making national news once again while the Metro Flint area media again gave her a pass. If you didn't watch Detroit's TV reports, read national news stories, watch Detroit's TV newscasts, listen to Detroit's radio reports, read this space on or listen to The Morning Gazette Radio Show, Flint area media would have simply kept you in the dark on the biggest reason why union members would likely choose to vote for anybody but Dr. Karen Weaver in Tuesday's primary election.  READ MORE

Endorsement Monday is upon us: Time to make some friends unhappy by offering our advice for primary in Flint, Burton races

   ​​​​​​​​​​Endorsement Monday has been a staple of our radio show team ever since we hit the air waves. It's nice to know so many trust our advice on who to vote for when they head to the precincts.  The Morning Gazette Radio Show presented its choices earlier today and a replay of the program is available at right. Simply click the yellow button inside the black box to listen.

​   It's good for my ego, too, that we reached 10,000 listeners today. That beats our previous record of more than 7,500 who listened to an interview by Leeanne Walters who helped expose Flint's water crisis five years ago. The huge audience has me now re-thinking my prediction this morning that Flint would have an all-time record low turnout. Based on how many tuned in to hear our Endorsement Monday show, that prediction is going out the window. 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Fake claims by Flint mayoral candidate rank right up there as most disgusting political stunt; FBI now investigating Meier

   If anywhere there's a hall of fame for disgusting political stunts, we have an entry here in the Metro Flint area. It's a stunt worthy of an orange jump suit.

   David Meier, one of 18 candidates who want to be Flint's next mayor on Nov. 7, is now under investigation by the FBI for fake claims proclaimed last week during an interview with me on The Morning Gazette Radio Show. The mayoral candidate told my listeners he was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon for his heroism during the Vietnam War.

   Meier also said he was a brigadier general who had "faithfully and loyally served my country in Vietnam and every war that America has been in since then." He also told my listeners that he had been employed by the CIA and had done missions since the age of 15.
Read More

Time for review on how our high schools treat sports superstars after ex Grand Blanc High star charged in murder police call 'revenge' killing

​   Nobody in Grand Blanc High School's football family wanted to talk on the record about Monday's news that one of its all-time greats is being held without bail at the Genesee County Jail.

   It's a subject that needs to be addressed on the day that high school football practices began across Michigan. How many schools employ coaches who allow talent to trump instilling life's most important lessons that come from the privilege of participating in competitive sports?  
Read More

​Rumors flying about alleged police reports this guy didn't file; Lawyer letters only way to clear record

​A couple political heavyweights were on the other end of the line to yell and scream at me after conversations they had just encountered with other local media members. Somebody had apparently been telling them stories about Mike Killbreath that simply didn't happen.

   Lawyer letters is how yours truly intends to respond.

   And oh yeah, by also sending them out our proverbial bushel of rotten apples from The Morning Gazette Radio Show for their absolute incompetence at the job of being journalists. Make sure you tune in to tomorrow's radio show. You can listen live at 8 am by clicking on the blue button above that says, "Click Here to Listen Live to CCN Radio." We will present replays of the show at 10 am and again at 11 am. 

Posted on April 19, 2017

Liberal media's morning after pill on Georgia's election exemplifies why Donald Trump is President of United States

​   The morning after pill served up by America's liberal slanting media provides resounding proof why Donald Trump is President if anybody is curious why the orange-haired, cartoon character kept winning his way to the Republican nomination, and then beat Hillary Clinton. Today's barrage of news reports about Georgia's election last night is a hard pill to swallow for anybody with a brain. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC and the New York Times served up news about a resounding victory last night for Democrats and reveled in how it's clear evidence that America is rejecting Trump's leadership. But the facts tell a different story. READ MORE

Posted on April 9, 2019

​Mateen Cleaves case goes to Judge Archie Hayman for ruling on appeal of earlier dismissal

   The media circus surrounding the phony sex assault charges against former basketball star Mateen Cleaves adds a new chapter Monday afternoon. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy wants more media attention for whatever future political run she's plotting. That's my take on why she's hoping to win an appeal on charges dismissed against Cleaves by a Flint judge last fall.

   Forget the collateral damage to the reputation of Cleaves. Never mind the financial devastation caused by losing his job as a college basketball analyst at CBS, getting canned from his gig on Fox Sports Detroit for Detroit Pistons' TV broadcasts and the legal bills from Frank J. Manley's office. Forget, too, all the good Cleaves was doing for poor families who got help with food and Christmas gifts donated in a statewide charity program led by Cleaves, with support from Meijer. Never mind all the young people touched by the "One Goal, One Passion" basketball camps across Michigan that Cleaves conducted.

Posted on April 8, 2017

Maybe missing playoffs for Red Wings was blessing in disguise for great final tribute at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit

   DETROIT — Missing the playoffs was a blessing in disguise for the Detroit Red Wings when it came to planning a final good-bye to Joe Louis Arena. Knowing the final date allowed organization officials to plan a proper tribute. It began with former stars making their entry into the building via a red carpet three hours before the game and lasted an hour after the game ended with a special ceremony on the ice.   
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Posted April 7, 2017

Let's turn opening day for Detroit Tigers into new statewide holiday!

   Opening day in Detroit for our Tigers needs to become a statewide holiday. Some texts this week after voicing my idea on Monday's Morning Gazette Radio Show described my idea as everything from crazy and stupid, to brilliant and long overdue.  
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Posted April 5, 2017

The Metro Flint area's sports community loses a true legend 

   ​The Metro Flint area sports community has lost a true legend. Stan Gooch won more than 600 games as the basketball coach at Flint Central and Mott Community College, and his three-peat feat with consecutive Class A state championships in 1981, 1982 and 1983 featured some of the most fun basketball teams to watch in state history. He was 82. 
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Posted April 4, 2017

Detroit Tigers' ace pitcher Justin Verlander making case for Hall of Fame distinction

​   CHICAGO —- Justin Verlander might be the best pitcher in franchise history when it comes to a big league career wearing the old English D. His great opening day performance here Tuesday in Chicago against the White Sox served notice that he's still among baseball's best pitcher after opening his 11th year in Major League Baseball. 
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Posted March 31, 2017

Baffoon Flint politician may turn out to be thief if police report filed by church deacons leads to prison for Nelson  

   We may need to soon add an adjective or two to describe one of Flint's dumbest politicians. Flint City Council President Kerry Nelson has been described on an occasion or two (or six?) as a "baffoon" by yours truly on The Morning Gazette Radio Show. Friday's blockbuster news story delivered by my morning radio show indicated that a criminal conviction could be on the horizon for Nelson if three deacons at his church get their way. They say about $1.7 million is missing from the finances managed by Mr. City Councilman.
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