Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and several defendants named in a recent lawsuit, are battling charges filed against regarding the Flint water crisis.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged Snyder and eight other government officials with 42 misdemeanor and felony counts in January. All defendants named plead not guilty.
Snyder’s attorneys are arguing to have the case thrown out, claiming the charges should have been filed in Lansing where Snyder’s office was located, instead of Genesee County where the charges were filed, according to a Jan. 25 motion obtained by the Detroit Free Press.
Snyder’s legal team called the filing “a fatal and incurable flaw,” which should in actuality refer to the Flint water crisis where thousands of Black and low-income residents were contaminated, some who contracted lead poisoning and Legionnaires’ disease, resulting in at least 12 deaths. The Flint water crisis is one one of the largest public health crisis’s and environmental justice issues of our time.
Snyder finally declared the water crisis a state of emergency in January 2016 and followed it with a request from the Obama administration for aid.
In addition to having the case dismissed, lawyers for Snyder are calling into question the way evidence was collected, stating that an outside team of investigators should have been hired to review the evidence to protect Snyder’s attorney-client privilege. The claim is in reference to using what is widely known as a “taint team,” however a taint team is a procedure that is not required in cases such as these.
The other people named as defendants in the water case include Nick Lyon, former director of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Richard Baird, one of Snyder’s top aides, Jarrod Agen, Snyder’s communications director, Dr. Eden Wells, former Michigan chief medical executive, Darnell Earley, former Flint finance director and state-appointed emergency manager, Gerald Ambrose, former state-appointed Flint emergency manager, Howard Croft, former Flint Public Works director, Nancy Peeler, former director of Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting in state Health and Human Services department.
For three of the defendants, the charges are new, but for the remaining six, the charges were brought forth previously in a dismissed 2019 suit authorized by Nessel’s predecessor Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette.
Snyder’s legal team is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 23 for a pretrial hearing.