LANSING, March 9, 2021 – Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud today commented on a pattern of behavior by former Governor Rick Snyder’s legal team to discredit Michigan’s grand jury process following a hearing in Genesee County’s 67th District Court. The hearing comes one day after the legal team for Jarrod Agen – who is among the nine individuals indicted on criminal charges in the Flint Water Crisis investigation – received an unfavorable ruling in another court.
“Today’s hearing was one more attempt, in a series of miscalculations by the Snyder defense team, to disqualify and discredit the grand jury process. The grand jury is a secure and unbiased investigative tool used to determine if enough evidence exists to issue criminal indictments,” said Hammoud. “Today, Mr. Snyder’s lawyer tried to degrade the grand jury process, even going so far as to question the work of the grand juror, Judge David Newblatt. This shows just how far defense counsel is willing to go to deny justice to the people of Flint.”
Today’s hearing to dismiss charges against former Governor Rick Snyder was brought before Judge William Crawford II of the 67th District Court. This hearing comes one day after a ruling by Judge Elizabeth Kelly in the 7th Circuit Court to deny a motion by Snyder’s former chief of staff, Jarrod Agen. Agen sought to dismiss the perjury charge against him, claiming that the indictment failed to allege sufficient facts, the venue in Genesee County was improper and, the one-person grand jury did not have jurisdiction to issue the indictment.
At the conclusion of yesterday’s hearing, Judge Kelly addressed defense counsel’s failure to follow Michigan Court Rules regarding pleadings and asked defense counsel to strictly comply with the court rules in future pleadings.
“While this may be a high profile case, there are no velvet ropes in our criminal justice system. The defense may not like the process, but it is our responsibility to apply the law without prejudice and ensure we utilize all investigative tools in the pursuit of justice for the people of Flint,” said Hammoud.
A ruling from Judge Crawford of the 67th District Court is expected within a week.
The grand jury process, commonly used in prosecutions across the country, provides the ability to conduct an investigation expeditiously and to use public resources in the most efficient way possible. In accordance with state law, discussions on the grand jury evidence are not allowed at this stage in the cases. Seventh Circuit Chief Judge Duncan Beagle is in the process of reviewing the evidence and has stated he will provide what he deems relevant to both parties for discovery purposes.
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.