LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Former Governor Rick Snyder is out of office, but far form in the clear in the Flint water crisis.
His name and those of more than 60 other former and current government officials were listed in newly revealed search warrants, another sign that the former governor is still being scrutinized in the probe led by Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud.
Snyder responded to the revelation on Twitter:
I am dialing back the RPA a bit today. The stories coming out about my state phone and computer are very sloppy and misleading. I gave my phone and all that stuff to the AG's office before I left office. Why the AG's office is executing a search warrant on itself I cannot say.— Rick Snyder (@onetoughnerd) June 5, 2019
“This is something of a fishing expedition,” said Peter Hening, a former federal prosecutor and current law professor at Wayne State University. “But when you go fishing, you never know what you’re going to catch.”
Snyder is far from the only individual named in the warrants. Others include former Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, Snyder’s close advisor Rich Baird and former Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, who’s already been charged criminally.
Some of the data was seized as far back as 2016 and as recently as December of 2018.
“To look in a cell phone, to look in a computer. you have to have a warrant,” Henning said. “So even though there were investigative subpoenas before when (former special prosecutor) Todd Flood was doing it. I think they’re being more cautious than they have to be, but they don’t want to lose any evidence.”
But some of what’s on the seized mobile devices and hard drives appears to still be a mystery. The search warrants note that some of the devices are still encrypted. meaning authorities may need the device’s passcodes to see what’s inside.
“The interesting question is whether you could compel someone to reveal their code,” Henning said. “The federal courts are split on that issue.”
So far, 15 have been charged in the ongoing probe.
Read the full statement from a spokesman from Snyder's office below:
Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and her Flint water investigative team did not take former Gov. Rick Snyder’s cell phone from him. The Governor intentionally and voluntarily left his cell phone and other electronic devices with the Attorney General’s office when his term of office ended, so that they would be available. Recent media reports have been misleading at best.
While we have not been provided with either a copy of the search warrants or supporting affidavits, it is our understanding that the search warrants were executed at the office of the Attorney General, where the Governor’s devices were being stored in a secured manner. Solicitor General Hammoud was informed that the Governor’s devices were secured in the AG’s office.
Several times since January, we have reached out to Solicitor General Hammoud offering to explain the history of the document production and the agreements reached with former Special Assistant Attorney General Todd Flood. We have not received any response to those offers.
We agree with the statements from career assistant attorneys general, which were filed in the Nick Lyon case, regarding the many misstatements made about the document productions and Warner’s role in those document productions. As we have said before, our firm and the Attorney General’s office worked cooperatively together on the review and production of documents in this matter. There were never any disagreements between Warner and the AG’s office regarding the relevance of documents produced.
Finally, we take issue with the continued false statements, both in court and to the press, that the Governor’s private attorneys have somehow compromised or impeded the SG’s investigation in any way. We have not. We have cooperated and made every effort to continue that cooperation.