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Snyder's attorneys argue evidence may be inadmissible because 'taint team' wasn't used

Gov. Rick Snyder
Posted at 4:22 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 17:31:05-05

(WXYZ) — Attorneys for former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder say evidence in the case may be tainted and inadmissible.

They've asked the court to "stop the clock" on pretrial filing deadlines until their motion to dismiss the indictment has been decided.

At issue is an admission that a "taint" team was not used in the case. A taint team is used to filter out material that may fall under a privilege, which would make it inadmissible in a case.

You can read the full statement from Snyder's team below:

We take this step after Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud acknowledged that her team failed to use a ‘taint’ or ‘filter’ team in the course of its investigation of former Gov. Snyder.

This admission raises questions about whether the evidence presented to the single-judge grand juror may have been tainted by this fundamental breach of investigative protocol.

This is a stunning admission in light of the fact Solicitor General Hammoud has publicly acknowledged searching and seizing documents and electronic devices belonging to Gov. Snyder and his executive office staff in June 2019.

Taint or filter teams are a standard criminal investigative protocol used by prosecutors to segregate privileged materials so that investigation teams do not see information they are prohibited from reviewing and using. Taint teams usually are comprised of prosecutors and investigators who are not part of the prosecution team.

The fact no taint team was used raises questions about whether any of the evidence presented to the single-judge grand juror is untainted by this fundamental breach of well-established investigative protocol.

If Gov. Snyder’s pending motion to quash the indictment for lack of jurisdiction and dismiss the case for improper venue is not granted, we will be filing motions to seek discovery and evidentiary hearings to explore these significant concerns.
Brian Lennon, Snyder’s attorney

We reached out to the Michigan Attorney General's office for comment on this development. They say Attorney General Dana Nessel is not involved in the criminal investigation into the Flint Water Crisis. They also release the following statement on behalf of the Solicitor General and the prosecution team.

The court is the appropriate forum to litigate this case, and that includes any necessary response to defense counsel’s continued meritless attacks.
Courtney Covington Watkins

You can read the full motion below:

Snyder Unopposed Motion by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd