Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Thursday that Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy will work jointly with Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud on introducing a new phase in the state’s criminal investigation of the Flint water crisis.
With Worthy joining the team, Todd Flood, who was appointed by former Attorney General Bill Schuette, has been removed from his role as special prosecutor and will instead serve as an assistant attorney general going forward.
Nessel, who is handling the civil lawsuits related to the Flint water crisis and is thus not involved with the criminal investigation, was critical of Schuette’s handling of the investigation on the campaign trail in 2018 and said Thursday that having Hammoud and Worthy replace Flood as the lead on the case was an easy decision for her to make.
“I felt it was really important for us to have people working on these cases that were actually accountable to this office and accountable directly to the people of this state. This, after all, is the people’s law firm,” Nessel said.
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Hammoud and Worthy expect to make several other staff changes in the near future, including hiring new members for the prosecution team, and hinted that new charges could be brought depending on what their investigation finds.
“If more charges need to be brought, I will bring them,” Hammoud said.
Additionally, Hammoud said that some cases may need to be adjourned while the new team investigates.
Despite this potential change in direction, however, Hammoud said that she wouldn’t agree with the notion that they are restarting the investigation.
“At this point in time, I think it’s appropriate for us to look at that investigation and everything that was associated with it. We’re not throwing everything out and starting from zero,” Hammoud said. “But there’s new leadership and I think that as attorneys and as career prosecutors we know that we don’t just jump into a case and say ‘alright, this is the file and I trust that everyone did their due diligence.’ There were a lot of people that were involved in this case.”
While Worthy declined to say whether she felt it would be necessary to interview former Gov. Rick Snyder, she left the door open to the possibility.
“Everyone, regardless of their title, is equal under the law and no one is above the law,” Worthy said. “Anybody who we, as a team, believe is criminally responsible in this case or should be interviewed will be interviewed.”
Hammoud said that she plans to also conduct additional outreach with those impacted by the Flint water crisis.
“My only preconceived notion deals with whether or not the people of Flint were wronged here. They were. The people of Flint were wronged,” Hammoud said.