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Judge denies defense motion to dismiss charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

The criminal case against former governor Rick Snyder will proceed.

A judge rejected his lawyers’ request to dismiss the charges against him Thursday.

In January, nine people, including for the former governor, were criminally charged in connection with the Flint water crisis.

In 2014, the city of Flint’s drinking water source was switched. The decision to make the change was made by an emergency manager appointed by Snyder to oversee Flint’s city finances.   

The move was intended to save money. But instead, improperly treated water from the Flint River damaged city pipes, releasing lead and other contaminants into the city’s drinking water.

Rick Snyder is charged with two misdemeanor counts of Willful Neglect of Duty tied to his handling of the Flint water crisis. If convicted, he could face a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine on each count.

Snyder’s attorneys asked the district court to dismiss the charges. They argued the 7th Circuit Court judge set up as a one-man grand jury who indicted the former governor, lacked jurisdiction. Snyder’s lawyers also don’t believe he should be facing trial in Genesee County. They contend that since the governor’s office is located in Lansing, the case should be in Ingham County.

But District Court Judge William Crawford II rejected both arguments.

Crawford’s opinion found the defense's argument that the one-man grand jury did not have jurisdiction "lacks merit." The judge also brushed aside Snyder’s attorneys’ contention that the case against the former governor should be moved from Genesee County. Crawford says prosecutors have flexibility about where to pursue a case. 

Prosecutors welcomed Thursday’s ruling.
Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud calls the judge’s ruling “a small victory for the people of Flint.”

But Snyder’s lawyers say they are disappointed by the judge ruling, saying they plan to appeal the decision to the circuit court.

Snyder’s attorneys claim the Michigan Attorney General office’s case against the former governor is "politically motivated." 

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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