Criminal charges against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will be dismissed, a recent court order shows.
Snyder was previously indicted in January 2021 on two misdemeanor charges of willful neglect in connection to the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, the court document said. The charges were punishable with up to one year in prison or a fine of up to $1,000, the state’s penal code shows.
The charges brought against Snyder, “were not properly brought and must be dismissed at this time,” an order signed on December 7 by Judge Kay Behm said.
Flint’s water problems can be traced back to 2014, when city and state officials switched the city’s water supply from the Detroit water system to the contaminated Flint River in an effort to cut costs, CNN previously reported. That decision exposed residents to extremely high levels of lead and prompted more than a dozen lawsuits against those involved.
The court order reverses a ruling that denied Snyder’s motion to quash the indictment and dismiss the case.
Judge Behm held that under Michigan’s one-person grand jury law and a recent state Supreme Court ruling, Judge David Newblatt did not have statutory authority to issue any misdemeanor indictments against Snyder.
The December 7 court order said, “the district court’s decision … is hereby reversed and remanded to the District Court for entry of an order of dismissal.”
In a statement, Snyder’s attorney Brian Lennon said:
“After years of desperate attempts at political persecution veiled in amateurish and unethical prosecutorial efforts, we’re pleased to see that Judge Behm followed the unanimous Michigan Supreme Court and her former Circuit Court colleague by dismissing this fatally flawed case against Governor Rick Snyder. The state has already wasted millions of taxpayer dollars pursuing meritless misdemeanor charges and this case should now be considered closed. The prosecution team’s statement saying it will appeal this ruling is further proof that they intend to continue their efforts to weaponize the court system against their political enemies.”
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office issued a statement on the news of the dismissal saying:
“This decision is not surprising, and the prosecution will appeal. We anticipated that this ruling would be similar to other outcomes that only considered process. Our team has been preparing for this and looks forward to addressing these issues in court. As we have reiterated time and again, rulings up to this point have been on process alone – not on the merits of the case. We are confident that the evidence clearly supports the criminal charges against Rick Snyder, and we will not stop until we have exhausted all possible legal options to secure justice for the people of Flint.”