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Preliminary exams scheduled for fall in Flint water crisis criminal case

Mar 13, 2017

District Court Judge Jennifer Manley has scheduled preliminary exams for seven Flint water crisis defendants for this fall
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The criminal case against a half-dozen government employees in the Flint water crisis probe will drag on into this fall.

District Court Judge Jennifer Manley set preliminary exam dates for seven defendants for September and November.

The proceedings are expected to take more than a week, as prosecutors and defense attorneys argue over evidence and charges before the cases go to  trial.

Special Counsel Todd Flood expects the trials will begin shortly after this fall’s scheduled hearings, depending on the court’s schedule.

Defense Attorney Richard Kraus talking about prosecutors contention that misconduct in office charges can be filed against Flint water crisis criminal defendants, “The (Michigan) Supreme Court says otherwise.”
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“We want to move it along. I think the defense wants to move it along,” says Flood. “We’re going to do the best we can.”

Today, Judge Manley, at least temporarily, set aside a defense request to drop misconduct in office charges against some defendants. 

The misconduct charge is a felony, carrying a five-year prison sentence.  

Prosecutors filed “misconduct in office” charges against several current and former state employees in the departments of health and environmental quality.

“We’re going to do the best we can," special counsel Todd Flood says as he discusses the possibility of taking Flint water crisis criminal defendants to trial as soon as possible.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In court, Special Counsel Todd Flood cited ways the felony charge can be applied, even though none are elected officials.

Defense Attorney Richard Kraus had praise for Flood, but not his arguments.

“I give credit to Mr. Flood. It’s creative and imaginative,” Kraus told the court, but added, “the (Michigan) Supreme Court says otherwise.”

However, Judge Manley decided to let the issue continue until this fall when the lawyers can argue at length on whether the misconduct charge should stand.

Flood told reporters afterward: “I wouldn’t have charged the case unless I thought I could sustain it.”