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"Carnival-like" theatrics hurting Flint defendants, attorney claims

Jun 19, 2017

A defense attorney wants a court to limit prosecutors’ future public comments about the Flint water crisis criminal cases.

Lawyers took part in a probable cause conference today in Flint.

Attorney James White represents former Flint city public works director Howard Croft, who’s facing numerous charges, including involuntary manslaughter.

White complains prosecutors created a “carnival-like atmosphere” last week, when they announced new charges against Croft and other defendants, and released their old mug shots. 

“Any reasonable person can find that the release of those photos only had one purpose, and that was to enflame this community, to enflame a potential juror pool and prejudice Mr. Croft,” White told District Court Judge Nathaniel Perry.

Special Council Todd Flood, who took part in last week’s news conference, has a different view.   

“I thought we gave the proper information,” Flood told reporters in Flint today. “I think [the citizens] have a right to that and I think they’re entitled to that.”

Croft’s attorney is asking the judge to limit prosecutors’ future public comments against the case.

Defense attorneys have other issues with the state’s criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis.    They say they've been waiting months for prosecutors to turn over tapes of interviews with witnesses, transcripts, exhibits and other evidence in the case.

One of the attorneys says he's got the opposite issue: his office has received more than a million documents of evidence from prosecutors, but without a key to easily search.

Special Counsel Todd Flood insists he's turning over documents, and in the form that his office received them.

Judge Perry gave prosecutors until the end of July to turn over all materials requested by the defense.

Prosecutors tried to turn over information to an attorney representing the two newest defendants today.   They had planned to provide a list of potential witnesses they wanted to bar state Health Department director Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells from having contact with.   But Lyon and Wells’ attorneys missed today’s court date because of an apparent scheduling mix-up. 

Special Counsel Todd Flood is proposing consolidating all the cases in the investigation to a single court. 

Right now, three different judges are hearing motions and scheduling hearings against more than a dozen criminal defendants in the investigation.   Flood says he wants just one judge handling all the cases.