Statement: AG’s Filing in People v. Agen Continues Pattern of Attempting to Deny Defendants’ Rights

This week, the Attorney General’s office filed a pleading that continues its pattern of persecution intent on denying the constitutional and due process rights of defendants in the Flint Water cases. A statement from Brian Lennon, Gov. Snyder’s legal counsel from Warner Norcross + Judd, is below:

This week’s filing in People v. Agen and the Attorney General’s corresponding press release is absurd and continues a pattern of persecution intent on denying the constitutional and due process rights of defendants in the Flint Water cases. 

The pleading and press release further highlight the lengths Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy will go to keep alive their fatally flawed and politically-motivated prosecution of Governor Rick Snyder and others from his administration. 

The Attorney General’s office has finally acknowledged that the Michigan Supreme Court’s unanimous June 28 decision ordered the dismissal of the indictments against former DHHS Director Nick Lyon and the others. But now, the prosecution asserts that “arrest warrants” issued after and specifically referencing the illegal and unlawfully obtained indictments are the documents upon which prosecutions can proceed. 

This is false, and either shows a lack of understanding of the judicial system or a blatant attempt to undermine it. The unanimous Michigan Supreme Court said absolutely nothing about arrest warrants initiating a criminal proceeding. The prosecution is now asking courts to engage in hocus pocus and magically convert arrest warrants into charging documents, ignoring the clear and unequivocal directive of the unanimous Michigan Supreme Court decision.

First-year law students know that an arrest warrant is not a charging document and that arrest warrants are satisfied when a criminal defendant appears in court pursuant to that warrant. That happened for Governor Snyder, Nick Lyon, and all the other defendants on January 14, 2021, when each was arraigned on unlawful and illegally-obtained indictments. No one has ever been arraigned on an arrest warrant, and the prosecution fails to provide a single instance when anyone, in Michigan or elsewhere, has ever been arraigned and prosecuted on an arrest warrant alone.    

Now, on the eve of the issuance of Judge Elizabeth Kelly’s order on the felony defendants’ motion to dismiss the indictments, SG Hammoud is asking the court to engage in a series of tortured, illegal, and illogical jurisprudential gymnastics to justify a decision clearly contrary to the unanimous Michigan Supreme Court’s decision. 

No other prosecuting entity in the state of Michigan, including the Genesee County Prosecutor and Prosecutor Worthy’s assistant prosecutors in Wayne County, has requested such relief from courts following the Supreme Court’s June 28 decision that a one-judge grand juror cannot issue indictments. Only the AG’s Flint Water Criminal Team has made such an audacious request. 

We should not be surprised that SG Hammoud and Prosecutor Worthy would continue to ignore the Michigan Supreme Court. They have ignored and completely failed to comply with Judge Kelly’s November 2021 order to establish a “taint team” to review, identify, and segregate attorney-client privileged communications, attorney work product, Governor Snyder’s executive privileged documents, and federal court-protected mediation confidential documents from the city of Detroit bankruptcy, commonly known as “the Grand Bargain.” 

It has been well documented that despite numerous warnings about the privileged nature of the documents they seized from their civil-law AG colleagues, the Hammoud-Worthy-led prosecution team completely disregarded each defendant’s constitutional and due process rights by reviewing and producing each defendant’s privileged attorney-client communications and attorney work product to every other defendant. 

The prosecution’s failure to establish a taint team or seek the appointment of a special master is unprecedented and indefensible. And despite being ordered by Judge Kelly months ago to get on with the establishment of a taint team, they instead continued to appeal that order until the Michigan Supreme Court recently dismissed the prosecution’s last application for leave to appeal the November 2021 taint team order. 

While the prosecution team has claimed that its failure to deploy a taint team will cost the Michigan taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and will take several years to complete, AG Nessel has not requested any funds from the legislature in her department’s budget to accomplish this court-required task to move the prosecutions along.  They still have 17 million documents to review and produce. And because of Judge Kelly’s November 2021 taint team order – and a similar ruling from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court regarding the Grand Bargain documents they admittedly produced in violation of that court’s orders – not a single document has been provided to the defense since 2021. 

Neither AG Nessel nor SG Hammoud appears to have any intention of complying with Michigan Supreme Court decisions in these cases, opting instead to keep these fatally flawed cases on life support until they have been completely used up as electioneering fodder.