1st Anniversary of Flint Water Charges Signals Long Fight Ahead

It’s been a long and expensive year since the filing of misdemeanor charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder.

Some very basic issues – where to hold the trial, what judge should hear the case, what evidence can be presented – are still unresolved.

And they may not be for many months.

“As we approach the anniversary of the charges being filed, it is clear that there is no end in sight,” said Jason Brown, a spokesman for the Snyder legal team. “That means, there is no limit to the millions of dollars in costs that are mounting on top of more than $30 million already spent by the taxpayers on this bungled and politically driven charade – that is real money diverted from the real needs of Michiganders who are in need of services to help their families and businesses.”

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Legal woes pile up for Attorney-General’s mishandling of Flint Water cases

The Attorney-General’s efforts to cover up the mishandling of privileged and confidential documents in the Flint water case should not be condoned by a Michigan judge, a defendant in the case says in a recent legal filing.

Judge Elizabeth Kelly is receiving feedback on her November ruling, known as a protective order, which said the state’s prosecutors must set up an independent team to review millions of documents seized by the state related to the controversy – documents that include attorney-client communications.

Judge Kelly made the ruling at the request of state employees charged with felony offenses relating to the Flint water controversy, who like Governor Snyder, brought this breach of due process rights to the court’s attention.

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A Political Prosecution in Michigan

The Flint lead-water indictments look worse all the time.

Originally featured in The Wall Street Journal on December 27, 2021.

Some politicians seem to want to lock up their opponents more than they do criminals. Consider the tainted prosecution of former Michigan GOP Gov. Rick Snyder and his associates over the city of Flint’s lead-water contamination.

A state judge last month ordered state Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud to establish an independent “taint team” to review some 21 million documents her office seized to investigate Mr. Snyder and eight other public officials involving Flint. Many documents are protected by attorney-client privilege, so prosecutors and the grand jury should never have laid eyes on them.

Now Ms. Hammoud and assistant attorney general Christopher Kessel are protesting the judge’s order. They say hiring outside attorneys to exclude documents protected by attorney-client privilege would cost the state $48 million and take three years.

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Public health groups support Lyon against criminalizing public service

Four groups representing Michigan public health officials have filed motions with a Genessee County Circuit Court judge to allow them to file briefs in support of Nick Lyon, the former MDHHS Director facing manslaughter charges related to the Flint water crisis.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the Michigan Association for Local Public Health, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and the Michigan Associations of Health Plans filed the motions, demonstrating wide recognition of the dangerous precedent these proceedings set for public officials.

The ASTHO said it filed the motion “because a fundamental issue before the Court is whether ASTHO’s members – public health officials – should face criminal charges and trial for their professional decisions.”

Lyon is facing charges for deaths tied to a Legionnaires disease outbreak in Flint during the water crisis in 2014 and 2015. He is one of six former and current city and state employees who have been charged by Attorney General Dana Nessel in an act of political retribution.