You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Charge against Ann Arbor DDA member indicates victim was 'incapacitated'

By John Counts


Nader Nassif

Courtesy of WCSO

The warrant against Nader Nassif, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board member charged with sexual assault, indicates the victim was "mentally incapacitated" at the time.

The Michigan Penal Code defines the charge this way: "The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless."

Police would not comment on this aspect of the case.

Nassif's attorney, Joe Simon, confirmed that this was the count listed in the complaint filed against his client. Simon would not comment any further on the case.

Nassif was arrested July 31 in the 200 block of South Fourth Avenue. The warrant, which didn't appear in court records until Wednesday even though Nassif was arraigned last Friday, lists Nassif as residing in that block.

Police confirmed the victim was a female over 18 and the two were acquainted.

The arraignment was initially scheduled to take place Friday at Pittsfield Township's 14A-1 District Court, but the venue was changed to the 15th District Court in downtown Ann Arbor. A defendant needs to be arraigned within 48 hours from the arrest. Court officials said this played a part in why the venue was changed.

A preliminary examination was set for Aug. 15, according to court records.

Nassif is a criminal defense attorney and a member of the Ann Arbor DDA since 2011. He is a former attorney with the Washtenaw County Public Defender's Office and the Lorandos Joshi Law Firm, and runs his own law firm, The Nassif Law Firm PLLC, at 202 E. Huron St. in Ann Arbor.

He is also a partner with Model Cities Legal Services, with which the city contracts to provide indigent representation in 15th District Court. The city paid $383,000 to the firm for these services in the fiscal year that ended in June. The city approved a $240,000 contract for the fiscal year that started July 1.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Guilty or innocent, the guy should have had his contract with the city terminated long ago based on his incompetence as a lawyer. He is almost worthless to those who are forced to use his so-called services. I have personally seen at least two occasions when Nassif failed to show up for a scheduled court hearing, leaving his clients with no representation whatsoever.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

It is such a shame that there are all of these people who don't know Nader, nor the facts, yet they jump at the first opportunity to judge and belittle someone. Nader worked very hard to get to where he was, and probing his achievements with conspiracy theories just shows how insecure and jealous the commenters are. All of you with negative comments are like a bunch of vultures circling around a wounded animal, hoping that it would die so they can have their filthy feast. Everyone seems to be worried about the "victim's" feelings, but nobody has any heart to consider Nader's. It is VERY TRAGIC to be WRONGFULLY accused of such a heinous crime.

John Counts

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Let's keep in mind that many of the details in this case have not yet been released and Nassif is innocent until proven guilty. I know it's easy for our imaginations to fill in the blanks, but please try to refrain from speculating.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.



Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 3:52 a.m.

To "the eyes of justice team", can you go back and look at the way Keith Zeisloft, who I believe is also an attorney, backed up the sexual harrasser Judge and fired the victim. And there was an AAPD officer as a withness.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 10:52 p.m.

Hi lives in Ohio. I believe he use to be a magistrate. How can he get away with not standing up as a manager and back the victim.

Colorado Sun

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 6:06 p.m.

Keith Zeisloft is not a member of the Michigan State Bar according to my bar directory. Some District Court administrators are lawyers and some are not.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 3:48 a.m.

Postema backed up the Judge who sexually harrassed an employee. He also backed up Keith Zeisloft who fired an employee who layed in Intensive care with a possible heart attack, after being harassed by a supervisor.

The Eyes of Justice Team

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 3:32 a.m.

The mayor was in a meeting for hours today with Postema trying to figure out away to salvage his public image.

Colorado Sun

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

What a great guy that Steve Postema is! Betcha he'll win a circuit court seat in a landslide next year. Especially since voters remember his ace legal advice to City Council to approve the 413 East Huron project saved the city from a developer lawsuit. Citizens living near the planned development can thank Postema for this edifice.

Colorado Sun

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:39 p.m.

"Incapacitated", eh? Ask any experienced trial attorney in a trial context how hard it is to rely a case upon a material witness who has been consuming alcoholic beverages at the time an incident occurs. Alcohol impairs judgment; it impairs short-term memory; it impairs the perceptions of a person; it alters mood - in sum it destroys the credibility of a trial witness. If this is the case of a female voluntarily consuming copious amounts of liquor and later claiming some alleged sexual activity was non-consensual, the prosecution may have one tough row to hoe.

Basic Bob

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:43 a.m.

If the person is a minor, they can't consent to drugs or alcohol until they are 21 years old. In this state, the parent(s) can't consent to their use of alcohol, either. Of course that flies in the face of the actual truth of high school drinking and drugging. Could that be construed as involuntary use in a legal sense?


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 12:35 a.m.

Except that the definition of mentally incapacitated, as noted by Dave C above, is that the drug was administered without consent.

Michigan Man

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:27 p.m.

Looks like a male, democratic war on women going down in Ann Arbor just like in NYC and San Diego!


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 10:28 p.m.

1. Those that are already assuming he is guilty just because he is male are wrong to do so. 2. Sounding like alcohol or drugs may have been part of this. 3. Would be really nice to have some details.

David Cahill

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 8:20 p.m.

Here is the definition of "mentally incapacitated" from Michigan Compiled Laws 720.520a(j): "Mentally incapacitated" means that a person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his or her conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or other substance administered to that person without his or her consent, or due to any other act committed upon that person without his or her consent.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

Thanks, David. That should have been in the original story-- otherwise, a layperson will be left to speculate on the meaning of a legally defined term. The "without his or her consent" is especially contrary to a casual understanding of "mentally incapacitated".


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

Say what? What the hell does Mentally Incapacitated even mean?????


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

I am curious, does anyone else think it might be prudent for the city to suspend the contract with Mr. Nassif until this case is resolved. I am not trying to assess guilt or anything else but it just seems given the seriousness of the allegation it might be wise if another attorney should be assigned his workload until this all plays out.

Are you serious?

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

Model Cities only does misdemeanors, no felonies. There are already other attorney working on all of the cases.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 8 p.m.

It would seem to create a huge distraction for anyone so charged. If my lawyer was just charged with a felony, I would be concerned about their ability to focus on my needs. A major downside is bringing another lawyer up to speed on your case, and the additional cost to do that. If he has cases as a public defender pending, that raises other issues. Does the city have alternate public defenders?

Are you serious?

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

"And THEN the venue of the arraignment was changed. Was it ironic that he was supposed to be seen in a Pittsfield Township court, but then it was changed to Ann Arbor (where he works out of as a LAWYER)? I guess that's what happens when you KNOW people, right?" This is a nonsensical remark. Arraignments don't have a venue. Any district court judge or magistrate can arraign any defendant at any location including a hospital for a defendant who was taken there after an incident. There is nothing ironic about it all. As John reported in the earlier article the arraignment was done in the 15th DC due to availability of a magistrate.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:27 a.m.

Probably took the full 48 hours to determine who would hear the arraignment -- look at the Judges dockets on the days he could have been arraigned ... Nassif was listed as attorney representing defendants on those days! The court has no problem adding on one or two more arraignments to the docket. Let's see if they got the arraignment in withing the 48 hours .... cause if they didn't and this case is dismissed, then this "old boy lawyer network" better come down -- JUDGES, LAWYERS and ALL. Of course this is trying to be swept under the rug and how and inexperienced attorney was awarded a defense contract like that needs some investigation as well!


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

Did you not read the article? The article stated that it had a venue...then it was changed. How is that nonsensical? And a reporter can report anything that it wants. Let's face it, a lawyer, involved with the DDA with has a conflict of interest (IMO) has all these snafus happen. Seems fishy to me.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

Someone please get the warrant, if there was one!


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

Does anyone else think it's weird (or appropriate) that a company that is contracted with the city has a partner on the DDA? Has this city never heard of conflict of interest? And yeah, I get that the main story here is the crime, but this is the first I've heard of the whole legal partnership/city contract thing


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

A lot of hearsay. Ask the mayor point blank - "When did you learn Nassif was arrested?" His answer will reveal the truth about any city collusion. And the corroborated answer the truth about the mayor. The alleged victim may be male or female so lectures about typical male behavior are premature here. If the person was an indigent defended by Nassif then the city could be lheld lable as the "employer". The same could be said about a DDA relationship between parties. In either case the public purse is at risk by plaintiff suit. Was AAcom contacted by any other media ?

AA Neighbor

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

MORE THAN $600,000 to represent indigents????? This is the REAL STORY--informed readers want to see the details in print. WHO? WHEN? WHY? HOW MUCH? We need reporters who can follow the money. Why is this man is on the Downtown Development Authority?


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 6:27 p.m.

And I bet you're assuming that money went straight to someone's pocket? If you are this uneducated about general facts pertaining to the subject please refrain from wasting time on posting GARBAGE


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

I continue to be disappointed in the insensitive and ridiculous comments these articles attract. Do you really believe that a conspiracy involving the DDA, the mayor and local elections is more likely than this man sexually assaulting someone? Open your minds to the unfortunate reality that sexual assault is pervasive in this country, and Ann Arbor is no exception. "Nice guys" assault women all the time. Multiple studies* show that men admit to sexual assault in high numbers once the label of sexual assault is removed. Particularly when alcohol and/or other drugs are involved (which may be the case here), assailants love to inflate the idea of a "gray area" of consent. (There is no gray area. A freely-given, verbal and sober "yes" constitutes consent. Without that, you don't have it. Period.) Don't be so quick to dismiss this as "fishy". This happens every day, and those of us who know nothing about the case have no credible reason to doubt that it happened here. At the very least, how about some sensitivity to the likelihood that the victim is reading these articles? Are you really so bored that creating conspiracy theories and throwing your two cents in is worth magnifying the skepticism and shame she's likely already experiencing? Grow up. Get a hobby. *Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists by David Lesak and Paul M. Miller, published in Violence and Victims, Vol 17, No. 1, 2002 (Lisak & Miller 2002); Reports of Rape Reperpetration by Newly Enlisted Male Navy Personnel by Stephanie K. McWhorter, et al., published in Violence and Victims, Vol, 24, No. 2, 2009 (McWhorter 2009).


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

False accusations are also pervasive in this country, so lets wait until the facts are released before we convict this young man!

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:44 p.m.

"Do you really believe that a conspiracy involving the DDA, the mayor and local elections is more likely than this man sexually assaulting someone?" *You* said that, not anyone else.

Colorado Sun

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

Interesting how the arrest occurred six days before a primary election when the DDA was a major campaign issue. From what I have heard is that John Hieftje learned about the arrest the day it hit the media. His own AAPD did not warn him? A form of October Surprise? Are there police videotapes of the actual arrest? Why was there a need for an intrusive public arrest? Do videotapes exist of he arraignment? Why did it take 48 hours to arraign the defendant? Did Steve Kunselman, the chief critic of the DDA, benefit from news of the arrest in his squeaker victory over an opponent backed by DDA supporters? This arrest has made huge news in the Arab-American community and Nassif is being defended by another Arab-American member of the bar - Mr. Simon.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:15 a.m.

If they didn't get the arraignment in withing the 48 hours, then the case could be dismissed if challenged by the defendant. Now how convenient that would be for all in the "network" -- case dismissed all washed under the rug which is more than likely to happen any way.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

dem conspiracy theorie(s)... awesome


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

I wonder if this will even go to trial

Are you serious?

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

Strictly depends on the strength of the case and any plea offers that are made.

Colorado Sun

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

Look for a plea agreement negotiations to CSC 4th degree - a "high misdemeanor" which would likely keep Nassif out of jail and save his law license.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

If she was mentally incapacitated, were any drugs involved. If so was there a search of his house or car? If so, get the search warrant.

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 7 p.m.

trespass - Those documents are sealed for 60 days. When the time comes, we'll request them.

4 Fingers

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

They searched his house. Find the warrant. I heard it was a good one...


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

"The warrant against Nader Nassif, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board member charged with sexual assault, indicates the victim was "mentally incapacitated" at the time." You meant to write "...the *alledged* victim...", right? At this point, that's an important distinction that is accurate and only fair.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

Maybe I should have spelled it correctly, however..."alleged"

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

We do not yet know whether this case involves alcohol, or even other drugs. But it is a curious case because if anyone should be extremely cautious in a situation like this, it is a lawyer who specializes in exactly these types of cases. Very curious, indeed.

Basic Bob

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:37 a.m.

I bet public defenders spend a lot of time around alcoholics and drug addicts, only because of the strong correlation between addiction and getting busted. I bet most of these clients don't clean up until the judge threatens them with prison time. So the likelihood that any of his clients are high when they meet with him is significant.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

That song was written before the Performance Enhancing drugs came on the market.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

Thanks for following up on this, John. Have you made any attempts to determine why the availability of the arrest warrant has been so delayed? Particularly since that other CSC 3 case seemed to be handled more quickly. We can perhaps accept the confusion about the date and time of his arraignment, and the public missing that important event. Though it was obvious as soon as the Wednesday arrest date was mentioned that he must be arraigned on Friday - so I don't know who at the court would have said saturday. But combined with those issues, it all still looks a little odd.

John Counts

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

Consider: I've seen this same delay happen on other, less high-profile cases.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

I don't buy it, John. They kicked the paperwork out on that other case - the same charge - pronto. Combined with the misinformation on the arraignment. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck..

John Counts

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

Anyone who has been through any governmental system -- think the DMV -- knows things don't always run smoothly. I was told by the court there was merely a lag in entering the data into the court system.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.



Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

The article states he was arrested "Aug. 31". Should that read "July 31"?

John Counts

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

This was already pointed out in a comment above and has since been changed. Thanks.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

This one is going to be a little tougher to prove than everyone initially thought I suspect. The plot will certainly thicken in the near future I predict.

David Cahill

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

As of right now, Nassif's case is still not on the 15th District Court's online search system. This is a serious difficulty. The media got access, but the public is still shut out.

John Counts

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

That system is for misdemeanors. This is a felony. The information is available to the public on the computers inside the records office of the Washtenaw County Courthouse downtown Ann Arbor.

The Eyes of Justice Team

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

What Judge was Mr Nassif infront?

Colorado Sun

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

Is that Nader Nassif in your icon? Naw........Can't be...............

John Counts

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

Magistrate Collen Currie handled the arraignment. Not sure who will handle the preliminary examination yet.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:38 a.m.

Has the Mayor commented on his DDA appointee yet? Or had any contact with the police or court with the case?

Hugh Giariola

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:09 a.m.

John, 5th paragraph should likely be July 31st, not August.

John Counts

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.

This has been fixed. Thanks.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 10:12 a.m.

I smell something fishy. Nothing adds up in this whole situation.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

Well, seems that these types of cases don't "normally" have this many snafus. So the warrant was issued on Friday, but didn't appear in court records until Wednesday? I mean...there wasn't a holiday or what was the hold up? And THEN the venue of the arraignment was changed. Was it ironic that he was supposed to be seen in a Pittsfield Township court, but then it was changed to Ann Arbor (where he works out of as a LAWYER)? I guess that's what happens when you KNOW people, right? You know how to work the system when you work IN the system. THAT'S why it sounds fishy to me.

Jack Gladney

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Annie, there are too few variable for anything to add up. But don't worry, because Team CSI Ann Arbor is on the case and will soon have this discussion page filled with wild and endless speculation alternated with deleted comments. Your patience is appreciated.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

Please explain. I just don't think there is enough detail to say what happened one way or the other. That will come out in court if it gets that far. But it is odd that the warrant took so long.