The attorney for a priest accused of embezzling from a church in Okemos is seeking $800,000 seized by Michigan State Police.

The Rev. Jonathan Wehrle is charged with embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church in Okemos. But prosecutors say an ongoing audit shows an estimated $5 (m) million is missing from the church. Wehrle's Attorney Lawrence Nolan argued Friday that the priest and his mother should have access to nearly $800,000 seized by police. A judge who heard that request must decide whether there's enough evidence to send Wehrle to trial. That hearing resumes September 1st. Nolan earlier said $5 million is a "new high-water mark." The priest lives in an 11,000-square-foot home on 10 acres worth more than $1 million in Williamston. Nolan says money from Wehrle's family could have paid for it.

Wehrle was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Lansing on May 9th. He's currently free on a personal recognizance bond. Photo: WLNS. (JM)