State News

Snyder attorney calls expected Flint charges 'a politically motivated smear campaign'

January 13, 2021, 8:38 AM


Ex-Governor Rick Snyder's attorney hit back against word his client would be charged in the Flint water probe Tuesday, saying he'd never been informed of any "rumored charges" and calling them "a politically motivated smear campaign."

The Associated Press reported that the former Republican governor, now out of office for two years, had been informed he was facing charges, along with his former health director Nick Lyon and other officials. Snyder escaped charges on an initial probe conducted by prosecutors working under former Attorney General Bill Schuette. Nessel scrapped that investigation and had the Office of Special Counsel start anew in 2019.

From the Free Press:

Brian Lennon of Warner Norcross + Judd added that the Michigan Attorney General’s Office of Special Counsel "has refused to share information about these charges with us, which is an indication that a public relations smear campaign is a higher priority than any official legal action.

It is outrageous to think any criminal charges would be filed against Gov. Snyder," Lennon continued. "Any charges would be meritless. Coming from an administration that claims to be above partisan politics, it is deeply disappointing to see pure political motivation driving charging decisions."

Lennon accused the Office of Special Counsel of needing a "scapegoat after wasting five years and tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on a fruitless investigation."

Original article, 2:38 p.m. Jan. 13:

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to be charged in a new investigation into the Flint water scandal, the AP reports.

Snyder was told he would be charged along with his health director and a number of other ex-officials.

Two people with knowledge of the planned prosecution told the AP on Tuesday that the attorney general’s office has informed defense lawyers about indictments in Flint and told them to expect initial court appearances soon. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The AP could not determine the nature of the charges against Snyder, former health department director Nick Lyon and others who were in the Snyder administration. The attorney general’s office declined to comment on details of the ongoing investigation. Spokeswoman Courtney Covington Watkins said investigators were “working diligently” and “will share more as soon as we’re in a position to do so.”

On Thursday, Deadline Detroit columnist Charlie LeDuff reported Snyder was likely days or weeks away from charges of involuntary manslaughter, citing unnamed sources.

An initial probe into the 2014 poisoning of the city's drinking water was scrapped and relaunched by Attorney General Dana Nessel in 2019. Snyder, a Republican who held office from 2011-19, was not charged in that probe. 

Progress Michigan Executive Director Lonnie Scott reacted strongly to news of the charges. 

"It's about damn time. Justice for the people of Flint is long overdue," he said.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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