DETROIT (WXYZ) - 7 Action News has learned that Matty Moroun and Dan Stamper have been released from the Wayne County Jail.
They were freed on order of the Michigan Court of Appeals, which ordered a stay of Judge Prentis Edwards order that sent the men to jail.
The court also ordered a hearing into the matter, which will be held before the Court of Appeals on February 2.
The development comes hours after Moroun's wife Nora visited her husband at the Wayne County jail, even as lawyers for Moroun and Stamper filed more motions and briefs.
A motion for their release was denied on Thursday evening. This morning, their lawyers have tried again. It's unclear if the Court of Appeals will make any decision today.
Around 2 this afternoon, the wives of both Moroun and Stamper came to the jail. Sources say Stamper's son is also with them.
Around noon, Moroun's wife Nora left the jail after spending about three hours there. Sources say she brought her husband a bag with some food.
She told Action News "He fights for this city. We employ a lot of people in this city. All his life!"
A woman who picked up Mrs. Moroun said "He's a man of character and he's doing strong."
On Thursday, the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed to hear an appeal of a judge's order that sent Detroit International Bridge company executives Matty Moroun and Dan Stamper to the Wayne County Jail.
However, the court then denied the request by the lawyers to have their clients released.
The Bridge Company released the following statement about the court's decision:
We are disappointed the Court denied the emergency motion for the release of Matty Moroun and Dan Stamper. We are confident the Court will agree that the men have been unfairly jailed and that our appeal with be successful. Everyone should be accorded due process of law and have the opportunity to respond to clearly stated charges, and that was not the case with Judge Edwards' decision.
Lawyers for Moroun and Stamper filed the appeals after a judge ordered their clients to jail Thursday morning during a hearing in the Gateway bridge dispute.
The execs returned to court Thursday for failing to follow a judge's orders on a major construction project near Detroit's Ambassador Bridge.
Detroit International Bridge Co. was declared in contempt of court in November for failing to finish work on a project linking the U.S.-Canada span with two Detroit interstates. Judge Prentis Edwards ordered bridge company executives to court Thursday, including Manuel "Matty" Moroun.
That is where the judge ordered the Detroit International Bridge Company pay the maximum court fine of $7500 as well as MDOT costs and attorney fees.
The request by DIBC lawyers for a stay was denied by the judge. Kenneth Mogill, attorney for Stamper, argued Stamper had never been placed on notice that he was at risk of be held in contempt.
An attorney for Moroun said "I would rather take his place than to see him go to jail. This is very upsetting. I don’t think it’s necessary."
Mouron and Stamper will be imprisoned in the Wayne County Jail until the Detroit International Bridge Company complies with the order or until they no longer have the power to make them comply.
The Detroit International Bridge Company released the following statement on behalf of Moroun's son Matthew. It reads:
Without a trial, without a jury, with no notice stating the reasons for them to appear, a judge viciously lashed out at Matty Moroun and Dan Stamper today and ordered a penalty outside the bounds of a civil case that was excessive, unwarranted and outrageous.
This is the same judge that refused repeated requests for site visits to actually see construction on the Gateway Project. This entire legal process has clearly become a personal vendetta by the judge against these individuals.
On Thursday, Action News spoke with Matthew Moroun outside the Wayne County Jail this afternoon. He said he did not see his father in jail, but was told by the attorney who did speak with him that he's "doing fine" and that he "has a smile on his face". Matthew Moroun says his father will be vindicated.
Lawyers for Moroun claim he's really not the owner. They say a Moroun trust has a minority stake in a holding company that owns the bridge. But state officials say Moroun clearly is in charge.
The state says trucks that cross the bridge will be forced to use neighborhood streets unless improvements are made.
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