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Court denies request for one-judge grand jury in Flint water crisis case

Governor Rick Snyder
Flickr user Michigan Municipal League

An Ingham County Circuit court denied a Flint resident’s request for an investigation into Governor Rick Snyder Tuesday.

Governor Snyder has said his use of tax dollars to pay for his legal counsel on issues surrounding the Flint water crisis was appropriate because the investigations relate to his official duties as governor.

But Flint resident Keri Webber filed a complaint earlier this month asking a court to appoint a one-judge grand jury to investigate Snyder for criminal wrongdoing.

Webber’s complaint said the governor unilaterally approved spending $2 million on his lawyers, in violation of state law and the Michigan Constitution.

Mark Brewer is Webber’s attorney. He says they respect the court’s decision, but are disappointed.

“We always knew this was discretionary with the court,” he said. “They are not required to conduct an investigation. So now, again, we will look for other avenues. We’re certainly not going to give up.”

Brewer would not say what the other avenues are, but did call on the attorney general and the Legislature to take action.

“Only reason we went to the court in the first place is because neither the attorney general nor the Legislature put a stop to this contract,” he said. “Both of them could stop this contract and we continue to urge them to do so.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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