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Flint, MI– During the pretrial hearing former Gov. Rick Snyder’s attorney said Snyder’s charges were not only false, but also made in the wrong county.
Attorney Brian Lennon said he sent a letter to Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud’s office last night regarding these claims, but has not yet heard back.
“The indictment is fatally flawed because it charged Gov. Snyder with crimes, allegedly, that occurred in Genesee County,” Lennon said during the Jan. 19 hearing. “These crimes, which are false but fatally flawed because they were charged in the wrong venue. At all times during the indictment, Gov. Snyder was at his office…in downtown Lansing.”
Snyder was charged last week with two counts of willful neglect of duty in relation to the Flint water crisis. The charges are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Snyder pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment last week and bond was set at $20,000.
At the pretrial hearing, Lennon said the reason he did not file a motion to dismiss was to “give the government an opportunity to recognize this mistake and voluntarily dismiss the indictment against Gov. Snyder.”
Judge William Crawford sent Lennon and the Assistant Attorney General Brian Osikowicz into a private conference room to discuss other concerns before coming back on the record.
Lennon had a number of questions he wanted answers to, including whether or not a “taint team” was used to review and separate evidence with attorney/client privilege before the prosecution team and investigators.
“We have reason to believe that that was not used by this prosecution team led by Solicitor General Hammoud and Prosecutor Kym Worthy,” Lennon said. “It is a fundamental thing that, if not employed at the basic level…can challenge the integrity of the entire investigation.”
He said knowing whether or not this was used would inform the “length and types” of motions he would file.
He also said he wanted to know how the investigative subpoena transcripts for Snyder’s Former Senior Adviser and Transformation Manager Rich Baird and Former Environmental Policy Adviser Valerie Brader were leaked to various news outlets
“We’re confident…that the Office of Special Counsel, which had custody of those would have investigated that leak,” he said. “So we’d like to know what else was leaked, as well as other questions in that.”
Lennon said he would like to see a Cellebrite Report–a spreadsheet of all of the data extracted from electronic devices used as evidence in the case–as well as the personal emails and social media accounts the prosecution has of the officials charged, and whether or not a Faraday bag was used to store electronic devices to ensure no one could tamper with them.
He also ordered a transcript of a federal court case involving water company Veolia, where he said statements were made by the State of Michigan with respect to Veolia’s role in the crisis that could “bear on these charges.”
When the attorneys came back on the record, they requested a joint motion to request the release of grand jury materials from the chief judge which would be the “millions of documents and hundreds of devices” used in the case.
On Feb. 23, they will have a status conference to see how that process has gone and what they need to do next.
The pretrial hearing for Former Director of the Department of Public Works for the City of Flint Howard Croft was held immediately after Snyder’s, but the attorneys and prosecution for this case went into a breakout room right away.
Similar issues were discussed in the breakout room, and their next court date was also moved to Feb. 23.