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Judge hears arguments over whether to spike Snyder charges

Former Governor Rick Snyder outside Genesee County Jail photo
Cody Scanlon
The Flint Journal via AP

Lawyers clashed Tuesday over whether a Flint water indictment against former Gov. Rick Snyder was filed in the wrong county and should be dismissed.

A judge promised to make a decision within seven days.

Snyder is charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty. He’s accused of not properly responding to the controversy about Flint’s water, which was drawn from the Flint River in 2014-15 but not treated to reduce corrosion, despite widespread complaints. Lead leached from old pipes.

High levels of bacteria have also been linked to a fatal spike in Legionnaires’ disease.

Defense attorney Brian Lennon said Snyder’s office was in Ingham County so an indictment in Genesee County doesn’t fit.

He said dismissal of the case wouldn’t be a total victory for Snyder, noting the attorney general’s office can file in Ingham County if it chooses.

“They want mob-ocracy. They don’t want the rule of law,” Lennon said of prosecutors.

In response, Assistant Attorney General Bryant Osikowicz said physical presence is not the sole standard for proper venue.

“To claim that wherever he travels his duties remain behind in Lansing like some house plant is illogical. ... He did owe a duty to the city of Flint and its citizens, especially after he wrested local control from the city when he appointed an emergency manager to rule over its affairs,” Osikowicz said of Snyder.

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