Court Throws Out Flint Charges Against Rick Snyder

Former Michigan governor's lawyers slam 'vindictive' prosecution
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2021 1:00 AM CST
Updated Jun 28, 2022 5:42 PM CDT
Former Michigan Governor Charged in Flint Water Crisis
In this Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, file photo, then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder speaks with reporters during a news conference at his office in Lansing, Mich.   (AP Photo/David Eggert, File)

Update: Charges against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in connection with the Flint water scandal have been thrown out by the state's top court. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled in a 6-0 decision Monday that while state laws authorize a judge acting as a one-person grand jury "to investigate, subpoena witnesses and issue arrest warrants," they are not allowed to issue indictments, as happened in Snyder's case, the AP reports. Snyder's lawyers said Attorney General Dana Nessel "and her political appointee Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud staged a self-interested, vindictive, wasteful, and politically motivated prosecution." Hammoud described the Flint crisis as " one of this country’s greatest betrayals of citizens by their government" and said the case isn't over. Our story from Jan. 13, 2021 follows:

As expected, Michigan's former governor has been charged in the Flint water scandal. Rick Snyder was charged Wednesday with two counts of willful neglect of duty, the Detroit Free Press reports. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed the charges a day before her office is set to reveal new details in the investigation of the scandal, in which the city's residents' water was poisoned by lead after the source was switched to the Flint River in 2014. Legionnaires' disease outbreaks killed 12 and sickened more than 80, CNN reports.

The charges against Snyder are misdemeanors, and each is punishable by up to a year behind bars and a fine. Analysts say charging him so long after the crisis could make it difficult to convict, but they also note that if he is convicted, a judge could order the multi-millionaire to pay restitution. Snyder, a Republican, left his post two years ago. His lawyer calls the charges "outrageous" and says there is no evidence, the Detroit News reports. Former Flint Department of Public Works Director Howard Croft was also charged Wednesday with the same counts as Snyder. Nessel's office will be discussing the probe Thursday at 11:30am local time. (More Flint water crisis stories.)

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