By Ron Fonger
Eight remaining Flint water prosecutions have been dismissed by the Department of Attorney General, officials said Thursday, June 13.
Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy issued a statement saying the cases are being dismissed without prejudice -- meaning they could be refiled -- in order to conduct a full and complete investigation, a shocking conclusion to the high-profile criminal prosecutions.
"Legitimate criminal prosecutions require complete investigations. Upon assuming responsibility of this case, our team of career prosecutors and investigators had immediate and grave concerns about the investigative approach and legal theories embraced by (former special prosecutor Todd Flood), particularly regarding the pursuit of evidence," the statement says.
"After a complete evaluation, our concerns were validated. Contrary to accepted standards of criminal investigation and prosecution, all available evidence was not pursued. Instead, the (Office of Special Counsel) entered into agreements that gave private law firms--representing Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Treasury, and the Executive Office of former Governor Rick Snyder--a role in deciding what information would be turned over to law enforcement."
Thursday's decision means the criminal cases are dismissed against Nick Lyon, former DHHS director; Eden Wells, former chief medical executive for the state; former emergency managers Gerald Ambrose and Darnell Earley; DHHS officials Nancy Peeler and Robert Scott; Department of Environmental Quality official Patrick Cook; and former Flint Department of Public Works Director Howard Croft.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a statement Thursday, saying she appreciates the decision arrived at by Hammoud and Worthy.
"I want to remind the people of Flint that justice delayed is not always justice denied and a fearless and dedicated team of career prosecutors and investigators are hard at work to ensure those who harmed you are held accountable," Nessel's statement says.
MLive-The Flint Journal could not immediately reach Flood for comment.
Chip Chamberlain, an attorney for Lyon, said the former DHHS director was grateful the charges, including involuntary manslaughter, were dismissed against him and vindicated by the dismissals.
The AG's office has scheduled a "community conversation" in Flint for Friday, June 28. More details are forthcoming about the event.
Mayor Karen Weaver says the Attorney General's decision to dismiss the current criminal charges in Flint's water cases means the state is prioritizing the city.
"It means Flint is important. It means that we're a priority," Weaver said. "It means a full investigation so they can start from the beginning and look at everything because so many things were left out."
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