Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder faces 2 misdemeanor charges of willful neglect of duty in Flint water crisis




  • In Politics
  • 2021-01-14 02:56:41Z
  • By USA TODAY

DETROIT - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed two charges of willful neglect of duty against former Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday, a day before her office is set to announce new details in the Flint water crisis investigation.

Court records show the charges stem from an alleged offense on April 25, 2014 - the day Flint began using the Flint River as its new water source.

Each charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine of $1,000 or less.

Nessel spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said she could not confirm or deny the charges. Snyder's attorney did not return requests for comment Wednesday.

Nessel is scheduled to make a major announcement Thursday in the state's criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis. Nessel's office said the outcome of the state's criminal investigation would be discussed, but it did not release any details about who may be charged or what the nature of the charges could be.

Snyder's attorney, Brian Lennon, said Tuesday he learned of the upcoming charges against the former governor from several reporters. In a statement, he called them "rumored charges," which were part of a "politically motivated smear campaign."

New charges in the Flint criminal case mark a dramatic escalation of the long-dormant prosecution. Critics had once chided criminal investigators for only bringing charges against lower-ranked local and state officials while bypassing Snyder. But some legal experts believe convicting a former governor for his conduct in office could be a substantial courtroom challenge.

Flint water settlement boosted to $641M: But how much will residents get? That's still unclear.

Three Michigan attorneys who practice criminal law said the misdemeanor charges against Snyder are a surprise and that the length of time that has lapsed could make getting any conviction against Snyder a challenge.

But all three said that even securing a misdemeanor conviction could allow a judge to issue a significant restitution order against Snyder, a multi-millionaire who made a fortune in computers and venture capital before he was elected Michigan governor in 2010.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder testifies on the tainted water scandal in the city of Flint during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, March 17, 2016.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder testifies on the tainted water scandal in the city of Flint during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, March 17, 2016.  

Snyder, a Republican who has been out of office for two years, was governor when state-appointed managers in Flint switched the city's water to the Flint River in 2014 as a cost-saving step while a pipeline was being built to Lake Huron. The water, however, was not treated to reduce corrosion - a disastrous decision affirmed by state regulators that caused lead to leach from old pipes and poison the distribution system used by nearly 100,000 residents.

Nessel's office also filed new charges Wednesday against former Flint Department of Public Works Director Howard Croft.

Croft is facing the same charges as Snyder. But unlike Snyder, Croft had been charged before, only to see his charges dropped when Nessel took office and ordered a reexamination of the entire prosecution.

Croft's attorney, Alexander Rusek, said Wednesday that Croft has maintained his innocence since Day One. Rusek recalled how Croft backed a recommendation in 2015 from Marc Edwards, an environmental engineering professor from Virginia Tech who helped uncover the lead contamination problem in Flint, to switch the city's water supply back to the Detroit water system.

"At every turn, he relied on experts in their fields," Rusek said.

Follow Joe Guillen on Twitter: @joeguillen

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Flint water case: Ex-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder faces criminal charges

COMMENTS

More Related News

Atlanta DA looking to charge Trump for attempting to overturn election
Atlanta DA looking to charge Trump for attempting to overturn election
  • US
  • 2021-01-16 21:50:31Z

Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis is currently considering opening a criminal investigation of President Donald Trump for his previous attempts to ...

Far-right figure "Baked Alaska" arrested for involvement in Capitol siege
Far-right figure "Baked Alaska" arrested for involvement in Capitol siege
  • US
  • 2021-01-16 19:03:46Z

The FBI arrested far-right media figure Tim Gionet, known as "Baked Alaska," on Saturday for his involvement in last week's Capitol riot, according to a...

Atlanta Prosecutor Appears to Move Closer to Trump Inquiry
Atlanta Prosecutor Appears to Move Closer to Trump Inquiry
  • US
  • 2021-01-16 15:06:23Z

ATLANTA - Prosecutors in Georgia appear increasingly likely to open a criminal investigation of President Donald Trump over his attempts to overturn the...

Georgia prosecutor seriously considering a criminal investigation into Trump
Georgia prosecutor seriously considering a criminal investigation into Trump's election interference, report says

The inquiry would mainly focus on Trump's phone call with Brad Raffensperger, in which he asked the secretary of state to 'find' 11,780 votes.

Flint water charges escalate debate over officials
Flint water charges escalate debate over officials' failures
  • World
  • 2021-01-15 19:18:43Z

When a former Michigan public health director was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the Flint water crisis, the man who previously held the job says a...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Politics