The targeting of Trump was outrageous, but it was also part of a trend of horrendous abuses of prosecutorial and investigative powers for partisan reasons on a statewide level. One of the worst of these was AG Dana Nessel’s exploitation of Flint’s water crisis, caused by members of her own party, to conduct a witch hunt of Republicans.
Including the state’s former governor.
Now AG Nessel’s long and expensive witch hunt has come to nothing because of the abusively corrupt process.
The ongoing Flint water case against former Gov. Rick Snyder is relying on an investigative tactic so rarely used that some legal experts aren’t familiar with it.
Known as a one-person grand jury, the process is cloaked in secrecy.
It involves the appointment of a single judge to review evidence out of public view and decide whether charges should be brought. In contrast to the way most criminal charges are brought, using a one-person grand jury alters how evidence is turned over to defense attorneys and delays their ability to cross-examine witnesses.
The very existence of the Flint one-person grand jury wasn’t known publicly until January, when indictments were unsealed in Genesee County against nine former or current government officials, including Snyder. All have pleaded not guilty.
The Michigan Supreme Court took a look at Nessel’s double secret one-person grand jury and said, “no way in hell”.
A one-judge grand jury had no power to issue indictments stemming from the Flint water crisis, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The decision is likely to erase criminal charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder and several other former public officials, though one prosecutor indicated the cases are far from over.
Michigan law allows judges “to investigate, subpoena witnesses, and issue arrest warrants.” But it does “not authorize a judge to issue indictments,” which left the defendants with no recourse to initially hear and challenge the evidence in open court, the court said in a unanimous opinion, written by Chief Justice Bridget McCormack.
Flint water crisis defendants were entitled to preliminary exams where they could learn about the charges they face, challenge evidence and prepare a defense, the 6-0 majority wrote.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office “invoked obscure statutes … to deprive defendants of their statutory right to a preliminary examination,” Justice Richard Bernstein wrote in a concurring opinion. “…I do not believe we can tolerate such a procedural offense.”
Michigan apparently is still part of America and covered by the Constitution.
Justice Richard Bernstein, by the way, is a Democrat who once ran for Nessel’s job. Justice Bridget McCormack was also a Democrat. They’re not Republicans. And they were shocked and disgusted by this banana republic stuff.
That was last year. Now the case is deader than AG Nessel’s soul. But $60 million have been spent.
Seven years of legal wrangling over the Flint water crisis had resulted in all cases being dismissed.
The final case, against former Gov. Rick Snyder, closed Tuesday, Oct. 31. After being originally dismissed, the Attorney General’s office appealed and lost.
Nessel appointed Deputy AG Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to helm a Flint prosecution team. They charged Snyder, top aides and others by using a one-man grand jury. In a unanimous decision, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that was not acceptable under the law. The cases were all dismissed, they appealed and were unsuccessful.
Snyder’s case was the last to close. The former governor chalked up the charges against him and others as political persecution. The state has spent $60 million trying to convict anybody in connection with Flint and failed.
Not just anyone. Nessel threw out the actual previous work on the case and turned it into a partisan lynch mob.
Now the lynch mob is whining about its failure to convict.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling was not based on the facts of the case and does not in any way imply innocence of any charged individual. In fact, no court in the State has heard the evidence supporting the criminal charges brought by the prosecutors. Only the grand juror, a judge, has examined the evidence in this case. After that examination, he found probable cause to charge each of the nine defendants.”
And if Nessel and her people hadn’t decided to run the most consequential political trial of the century like a star chamber proceeding, the case would have been heard in court. Grand juries generally vote to proceed. How bad was the case here that the partisan prosecution tried to run it through a secret one-judge kangaroo court?
“The residents of Flint deserved their day in court,” said the Flint Water Prosecution Team. “If a jury decided that the defendants were not guilty of the charged offenses, so be it. To deny the opportunity to present the evidence and to let the victims tell their story is truly heartbreaking.
“Our goal with each step was to seek accountability on behalf of the residents. We brought in experts on lead poisoning and Legionnaires’ disease, and for the first time in the Flint Water investigation, our team examined each and every death and sought every legal remedy available to us. We are extremely disappointed that accountability for those alleged responsible is being denied on unprecedented process rulings.”
What’s heartbreaking is that Nessel, Hammoud, Worthy, etc aren’t going to prison.
There was a process in place for accountability before Nessel and her gang trashed it. But since it would have affected members of her party, a baseless case blaming state officials for local misconduct was launched for partisan purposes.
The lynch mob had zero interest in accountability (we’ve long since known who made the relevant decisions) and made sure that there would be no justice.
Mayor Dayne Walling, a Democrat, led a cheerful countdown at the Flint water treatment plant to press the button moving the city over to river water. Walling and Darnell Earley, the Democratic emergency manager, even raised glasses in a toast and drank the water to show that it was safe.
“It’s a historic moment for the city of Flint to return to its roots and use our own river as our drinking water supply,” Walling said. “The water quality speaks for itself.”
Flint’s city council had voted in favor of the move 7-1. Despite claims about the power of the emergency manager, the switch could not have gone forward without that vote.
Even once the problem had surfaced, the EPA knew and kept quiet. It was only once the crisis broke, that the Democratic establishment attempted to redirect the blame at Michigan’s efforts to fix broken Democratic cities like Flint using emergency managers.
That $60 million could have helped Flint residents. And yet AG Nessel and the gang were willing to spend that and much more, not to help people in Flint, but to attack Republicans.