DETROIT (AP MODIFIED) — A judge has rejected a request to dismiss misdemeanor charges against a former Michigan governor in the Flint water scandal.
Lawyers for Rick 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. Snyder's legal team issued the following statement regarding the ruling:
"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."
The former Republican governor is charged with willful neglect of duty in Flint. The city used the Flint River for drinking water without properly treating it to reduce corrosion. Lead in old pipes contaminated the system.
"Today’s ruling is a small victory for the people of Flint who patiently await their day in court,” said Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa 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.”