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Snyder attorney officially files for case dismissal

Snyder is charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty.
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 7:32 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Monday attorneys for Rick Snyder officially filed a motion to dismiss the case against the former governor for his role in the Flint Water Crisis claiming a lack of jurisdiction.

Snyder’s lawyers argue the case should be dismissed due to “improper venue filings” claiming that Ingham, not Genesee, was the correct county.

“Neither of these allegations of non-feasance, or failure to act, occurred while the former Governor was in the City of Flint,” attorney Brian Lennon said in a letter to prosecutors. “At all times set forth in the Indictment, our client was the presiding governor of the State of Michigan with the Executive Office of the Governor located at the Romney Building in downtown Lansing.”

The updated Register of Actions filed in the 67th Judicial District can be found HERE.

Attorneys for former Governor Rick Snyder appeared in a Genesee County court Tuesday morning facing charges related to the Flint Water Crisis.

Snyder is charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty. Both are misdemeanors and carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Attorney Brian Lennon filed a motion to dismiss because he says the charges were filed in the wrong court.

“The ridiculous charges against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder are politically motivated, false and seriously flawed. We will be asking the court to dismiss these charges since they should never have been filed in the first place,” Lennon said in a statement.

Lennon says during the indictment Snyder was at his office downtown Lansing.

He also filed a formal discovery request, which, among other items, “seeks information from the prosecutor’s office about your use of a “taint team” for the millions of documents and hundreds of electronic devices investigators seized pursuant to search warrants in June 2019.”

Attorneys for Howard Croft, the former Director of Public Works in Flint, were also in court today. Croft is facing the same charges as Snyder.

Four years ago charges were brought and then dropped against him.

His attorney Jamie White says it’s been frustrating and confusing for Croft.

“He sits accused of two misdemeanors so the stakes aren’t quite as high as they were the first time around, but I certainly don’t want to suggest that he is not extremely concerned,” said White.

Prosecutors say Croft willfully neglect his duty as supervisor of Flint’s water system. White argues it’s not that simple because he also had someone to report to.

“Mr. Croft was a part of a team that planned and ultimately implemented a change from the Detroit water system to the Flint River,” said White. “But this was a situation where the Governor decided that the city of Flint could not handle its own finances, and ultimately put someone in charge of everything. And whatever authority, Mr. Croft had under a traditional sense, was certainly usurped by the emergency manager.”

Some have brought up the idea that Croft wasn’t qualified or experienced enough for the position that he was put in and shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

“Were there people that maybe had more experience as it relates to system operations in a municipal sense. Sure, I think he would concede that. But I do think it’s an unfair criticism. You know the city of Flint had been left to fend for itself for a very very long time, and people like Mr. Croft stepped up and did the best they could with the resources they were provided,” said White.

White said Croft and his family were residents at the time and drank the tainted water themselves, also unknowing.

“At no point in time, did he believe that the water was poisoned. And certainly as information came out he did everything he could to try to provide assistance to those who were in need. So sure, I think he as well as anybody that’s been involved with this has an enormous amount of remorse and wishes that things could have been done differently but the idea that he intentionally did anything, or even recklessly did anything to the point of a criminal case is really preposterous on so many levels,” said White.

White also tells News 10 they take issue with the way the investigation was handled and the decision to use a grand jury. He says there’s been zero transparency as to why and they will be filing several motions similar to those filed by ex-governor Snyders defense.

“This, in my opinion, is the most fundamentally flawed way to prosecute a case. Ever,” said White. “It’s very rare. I’ve been doing this a very long time thousands of cases and I’ve only seen this tactic employed once. The grand juries or secret attorneys are not allowed in the room were not allowed to cross examine the evidence and quite frankly I think it deprives individuals of their due process rights.”

Both Croft and Synder are due back in court via zoom for a pretrial hearing February 23.

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