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Preliminary exam set for 4 Flint water crisis defendants

Aug 28, 2017

A judge has set a preliminary exam for four Flint water crisis defendants for early December.     

But defense attorneys and prosecutors remain at odds over evidence.

Two former emergency managers (Gerald Ambrose and Darnell Earley) and two former Flint city employees (Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson) will face a preliminary exam December 5th. They face a variety of charges, including willful neglect of duty. The exam will determine whether the case against them will move forward.

During a preliminary exam, the prosecutor will call witnesses and present evidence. The prosecution will need to demonstrate that a crime has been committed and the defendants committed the crime or crimes.  At that time, defense attorneys can move to have the charges dismissed. 

Prosecutors have turned over more than a million documents to the defense.

But defense attorneys say the format prosecutors provided the documents in is not easily searchable.

“We want the same documents that the government has,” says A. Scott Bolden, an attorney representing former emergency manager Darnell Earley. “If we don’t have the same documents or we can’t pull the same documents the way the government does, then we’re at a disadvantage.”

Special Counsel Todd Flood says he’s willing to work with the defense, but not do their job for them.

“The issue is they want us to do the work. We have enough on our plate to do their job,” Flood told reporters after a probable cause hearing on Monday.

Judge Nathaniel Perry told the attorneys on both sides that they’ve “dilly-dallied too long” in this case.     The charges were filed against Ambrose, Earley, Croft and Johnson in December of 2016.