Judge reveals another twist in the case of Michigan viral Zoom video driver who pleaded clerical error

Judge reveals another twist in the case of Michigan viral Zoom video driver who pleaded clerical error

The Michigan man who went viral for driving with a supposed suspended driver’s license while attending a virtual court hearing never had a license to begin with, a judge said Wednesday, adding a new twist to a story that has been met with laughter and surprise at every turn. 

Corey Harris made a splash on the internet last week when video of his May 15 Zoom hearing regarding his suspended license went viral. In the footage, Harris is seen driving, which baffled Judge Cedric Simpson, who revoked his bail and ordered him to turn himself in to authorities at a local jail. 

The legal proceeding quickly spread like wildfire online in the days that followed. In an interview last week with WXYZ-TV, Harris said he did have a legal right to drive and that an error had been made. 

During Wednesday’s hearing, in which Harris was present in the courtroom, Simpson said Harris never had a driver’s license at any time, Fox Detroit reported. The Michigan Department of State told Fox News Digital that Harris has never been issued a state driver’s license. 

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“He has never had a license. Ever. And has never had a license in any of the other 49 states or commonwealths that make up this country,” Simpson said before noting that Harris had his driving privileges suspended, not a license. 

“When they suspended his license…they don’t suspend the license, they suspend the privilege to drive in the state,” he said. “Hence, if he had a Kentucky license, he would have been allowed to drive anywhere that Kentucky allowed him to drive, he just couldn’t drive in Michigan because his privileges have been restricted. He didn’t have a license. Ever.”

In his TV interview, Harris said a clerical error had been made, saying his driver’s license had been suspended because of child support payment issues. The Michigan Secretary of State’s office, which handles driver’s licenses, never received notice from the Saginaw Friend of the Court that the matter had been resolved, the news outlet reported. 

Simpson said Harris, who did not speak, failed to take steps to get his driving privileges back. 

“The reason I know that is because, Mr. Harris, on December 28, 2023 – do you know where you were?” the judge asked him. “You were at the Secretary of State’s office. You were at the Secretary of State’s office because you re-did and you got your new Michigan ID,” Simpson said.

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“The way I know that he’s never had a license is because – on May 3, 1999 he was 19 at the time – he applied for his first Michigan ID,” Simpson said. “He has religiously, every year, gotten a new ID. And so he knows that he doesn’t have a license.”

In Michigan, you cannot have both a driver’s license and a state ID. In October 2023, Harris got into a vehicle accident and told authorities he didn’t have a driver’s license, prosecutors said Wednesday. 

Harris’ attorney, Dionne E. Webster-Cox, told Simpson that she wanted to take steps to correct things. She also said that Harris was not responsible for the “hoopla” surrounding his case. 

“My client didn’t start the hoopla. Perhaps he made some comments but he didn’t start the hoopla,” she said.

Simpson replied, saying Harris’ remarks during his TV interview didn’t help him. 

“The one thing I don’t like is when people don’t take responsibility for what they’ve done,” Simpson said. “The person that needed to be blamed is the person that he was staring at in the mirror.”

“Just own it!” he added. “Once you own it, it becomes a whole lot easier to move forward.”

Webster-Cox said her client was working to secure his license and has paid the reinstatement fee. He’s also scheduled a permit test this week.

“I just want him to have a license,” the judge said. 

Harris still had a warrant for driving with a suspended license and was taken into police custody. Simpson gave him a nominal bond so he could be released. After the hearing, Webster Cox said she was unaware that Harris lacked a driver’s license. 

“I can’t go into his mind and see what he’s thinking. All I can tell you was what I focused on was like what he’s going to do to get his license and that’s where I was when he was going to do this license. I hadn’t done any research to go back. I didn’t go back to 1999 to see about this Michigan State ID. All that was shocking to me. Absolutely shocking,” she said.