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No charges against Michigan treasurer in assault claim

(Reuters) - Michigan Treasurer Andy Dillon, a key figure in Detroit's historic bankruptcy filing, will not be charged for allegedly assaulting his former wife, prosecutors said on Thursday, the latest twist in a public battle since the couple divorced in March.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said there is "insufficient evidence to file criminal charges" based on an allegation by Dillon's ex-wife, Carol Owens-Dillon, that he assaulted her on July 13 outside of her house in Redford Township, Michigan.

James J. Harrington III, Andy Dillon's attorney, said "a full investigation" by the prosecutor vindicated Dillon's position that the assault claim was without merit.

Repeated attempts by Reuters to contact Owens-Dillon or her associates were not successful.

A Wayne County judge on July 23 rejected requests by Dillon and Owens-Dillon for personal protection orders against each other, but entered an order forbidding contact between them, according to Harrington.

On Wednesday, Dillon's executive administrator in the Treasurer' office, Amy Hichez, sued Owens-Dillon in Wayne County Circuit Court for defamation.

The lawsuit accuses Owens-Dillon of posting a message on her Facebook page sometime around July 7, 2013, that said: "a year and a half ago I caught my then alcoholic husband Andy Dillon cheating on Christmas Day with his secretary Amy Hichez."

The lawsuit says Hichez and Dillon "have never had any type of romantic relationship and their employer/employee relationship has remained purely professional at all times."

Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a Michigan public relations consultant who described herself as a friend of Andy Dillon, told Reuters in an email that the Michigan treasurer has battled alcoholism.

"Mr. Dillon went through a particularly difficult period during the holidays last year and sought treatment for alcoholism shortly after that," Rossman-McKinney said. "Like any of us who battle this challenge, myself included, he is taking it one day at a time."

Dillon, who served as Democratic speaker of Michigan House of Representatives from 2008 to 2010, was appointed state treasurer by Republican Governor Rick Snyder in January 2011.

As treasurer, Dillon has been a key player in events that led Detroit to file the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history on July 18. Dillon served on review teams assembled by Snyder to scour Detroit finances.

Hichez's defamation lawsuit also named Frank Tomcsik, a personal acquaintance of both Andy Dillon and his ex-wife, for allegedly republishing Owens-Dillon's statements. Hichez seeks damages of more than $25,000 in the suit.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Greg McCune, Dan Grebler and Andre Grenon)

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