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Former Gov. Snyder loses challenge to Flint water charges

Judge William Crawford II ruled that the two charges against Snyder can remain in Genesee County courts
Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder(source: Genesee County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 10:56 AM EDT
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FLINT (AP) - A judge has rejected a request to dismiss misdemeanor charges against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in the Flint water scandal.

Lawyers for Snyder said he worked in Ingham County, not Genesee County, so the indictment was returned in the wrong place. But Judge William Crawford II says prosecutors have flexibility about where to pursue a case.

Snyder’s attorneys plan to appeal. They issued the following statement after Crawford’s ruling was released on Thursday:

“While we are disappointed in the decision, it does not change the fact that this case is politically motivated, false and completely flawed. Filed by the same office that says it ‘will not abuse the investigatory powers of this Department to launch a political attack on any state official,’ the state is doing exactly that in this case. We stand by our claim that there is no legal basis for filing these charges in Genesee County, and we will be filing a timely appeal with the Circuit Court on our motion to dismiss the case.

While everyone agrees the Flint Water crisis was a tragic episode in our state’s history that caused a tremendous amount of trauma to many people, the State has presented absolutely no evidence to support their case. The Governor cares deeply for those affected by Flint’s water problems, and while in office, did everything in his power to help address them as facts and information became known. We will vigorously defend the former Governor from these unfounded charges and are confident we will prevail.”

Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who are leading the prosecution against nine defendants in the Flint water investigation, said the ruling on Thursday is a win for their team.

“Today’s ruling is a small victory for the people of Flint who patiently await their day in court,” said Hammoud. “This ruling affirms what our team has argued from the beginning: that the use of the grand jury to investigate and bring charges against Mr. Snyder and others as part of the Flint water crisis was proper.”

Snyder is charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty in Flint -- one for allegedly failing to properly supervise his employees and the other for allegedly failing to declare a State of Emergency for the city as required by law.

He faces up to a $1,000 fine or one year in jail if convicted of either charge.

Snyder was governor when Flint was under state emergency management and switched from the Detroit water system to draw drinking water from the Flint River. The more corrosive river water was not treated properly, allowing it to eat away the protective lining inside lead and galvanized water service lines.

Without the lining, microscopic bits of lead broke off the pipes and entered the water supply.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.