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Preliminary exams scheduled for fall in Flint water crisis criminal case

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

The criminal case against a half-dozen government employees in the Flint water crisis probe will drag on into this fall.

District Court Judge Jennifer Manley set preliminary exam dates for seven defendants for September and November.

The proceedings are expected to take more than a week, as prosecutors and defense attorneys argue over evidence and charges before the cases go to  trial.

Special Counsel Todd Flood expects the trials will begin shortly after this fall’s scheduled hearings, depending on the court’s schedule.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Defense Attorney Richard Kraus talking about prosecutors contention that misconduct in office charges can be filed against Flint water crisis criminal defendants, “The (Michigan) Supreme Court says otherwise.”

“We want to move it along. I think the defense wants to move it along,” says Flood. “We’re going to do the best we can.”

Today, Judge Manley, at least temporarily, set aside a defense request to drop misconduct in office charges against some defendants. 

The misconduct charge is a felony, carrying a five-year prison sentence.  

Prosecutors filed “misconduct in office” charges against several current and former state employees in the departments of health and environmental quality.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
“We’re going to do the best we can," special counsel Todd Flood says as he discusses the possibility of taking Flint water crisis criminal defendants to trial as soon as possible.

In court, Special Counsel Todd Flood cited ways the felony charge can be applied, even though none are elected officials.

Defense Attorney Richard Kraus had praise for Flood, but not his arguments.

“I give credit to Mr. Flood. It’s creative and imaginative,” Kraus told the court, but added, “the (Michigan) Supreme Court says otherwise.”

However, Judge Manley decided to let the issue continue until this fall when the lawyers can argue at length on whether the misconduct charge should stand.

Flood told reporters afterward: “I wouldn’t have charged the case unless I thought I could sustain it.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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