DETROIT – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed two willful negligence charges against former Governor Rick Snyder on Wednesday, a day before his office announced new details in the water crisis investigation to Flint.
Court records show the charges stem from an alleged offense on April 25, 2014 – the day Flint began using the Flint River as a new water source.
Each charge is a misdemeanor punishable by one year in prison or a fine of $ 1,000 or less.
Nessel spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said she could neither confirm nor deny the charges. Snyder’s attorney did not return requests for comment on Wednesday.
Nessel is expected to make a major announcement on Thursday as part of 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 on who may be charged or the nature of the charges.
Snyder’s attorney Brian Lennon said on Tuesday he learned of the upcoming charges against the former governor from several reporters. In a statement, he called them “accusation rumors”, which were part of a “politically motivated smear campaign”.
New charges in the Flint criminal case mark a dramatic escalation in the long-dormant prosecution. Critics once berated criminal investigators for only laying charges against lower-ranking local and state officials while bypassing Snyder. But some legal scholars believe that condemning a former governor for his conduct in office could be a tall order in the courtroom.
The colonization of flint water increased to $ 641 million:But how much will residents receive? It is still not clear.
Three Michigan lawyers who practice criminal law said the misdemeanor charges against Snyder came as a surprise and that the amount of time that has passed could make it difficult to get a conviction against Snyder.
But all three said even getting a misdemeanor conviction could allow a judge to issue a substantial restitution order against Snyder, a multimillionaire who made his fortune in computers and venture capital before being elected governor of the United States. Michigan in 2010.
Snyder, a Republican out of office for two years, was governor when state-appointed handlers in Flint moved the city’s water to the Flint River in 2014 to cut costs during pipeline construction towards Lake Huron. The water, however, has not been treated to reduce corrosion – a disastrous decision confirmed by state regulators that leached lead from old pipes and poisoned the distribution system used by nearly 100,000 inhabitants.
Nessel’s office also filed new charges Wednesday against former Flint Department of Public Works director Howard Croft.
Croft faces the same charges as Snyder. But unlike Snyder, Croft had already been charged, only to have his charges dropped when Nessel took office and ordered a review of the entire prosecution.
Croft’s attorney Alexander Rusek said on Wednesday that Croft has maintained his innocence from day one. Rusek recalled how Croft supported a recommendation in 2015 from Marc Edwards, an environmental engineering professor at Virginia Tech who helped uncover the lead contamination problem in Flint, to bring the city’s water supply back to the Detroit water system.
“At every turn he relied on experts in their fields,” said Rusek.
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