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Snyder accuses Michigan Attorney General’s Office of releasing confidential documents

Former governor’s legal team alleges thousands of documents from Detroit bankruptcy negotiations were made public
Former Gov. Rick Snyder appears in a court hearing remotely via Zoom.
Former Gov. Rick Snyder appears in a court hearing remotely via Zoom.(source: WJRT)
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 4:07 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Of the millions of documents released to the eight people charged in the Flint water crisis, former Gov. Rick Snyder alleges thousands should not have been included.

Snyder’s legal team filed a complaint in federal court Wednesday alleging that the Michigan Attorney General’s Office included thousands of confidential documents related to the 2013 Detroit bankruptcy as part of evidence in the Flint water crisis case.

Snyder and eight other officials were charged in January with crimes before and during the water crisis. Prosecutors are legally required to release the evidence they plan to use before the trial.

The prosecution team, which is led by Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, has committed to providing about 21 million documents to the eight defendants in the case, according to court documents. Snyder’s legal team says about 4 million documents have been sent so far.

However, Snyder’s attorney Brian Lennon says thousands of documents include confidential communications between the governor’s office and federal judges about the “Grand Bargain,” which resolved Detroit’s bankruptcy. Lennon says federal courts ruled those communications should remain sealed.

“To date, the Attorney General’s office has produced tens of thousands of documents that appear to violate attorney-client privilege, the attorney work product doctrine, executive privilege and more,” Lennon said.

Snyder’s legal team is asking a federal judge to schedule a hearing for the Attorney General’s Office to explain why those documents were released and to hold state prosecutors in contempt for allegedly violating the confidentiality rulings.

Snyder is facing two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty for allegedly not adequately supervising his employees and allegedly failing to declare a State of Emergency as required by law during the Flint water crisis. He faces up to a $1,000 fine or one year in jail if convicted of either charge.

Court proceedings for Snyder and the eight other defendants are on hold until June, when a Genesee County judge scheduled the next hearing.

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