Schuette: We did all the right things on Flint water investigation
FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - Facing harsh criticism for his team’s handling of the Flint water crisis, former state Attorney General Bill Schuette is firing back.
Despite keeping a low profile since leaving his office in Lansing, Schuette said he’s not hiding and said he’s never been surer of his work for the people of Flint.
“Twelve people died, thousands of kids were poisoned. For those that want me to look the other way or pretend it didn’t happen, no way. Not on my watch,” Schuette said.
He’s offering no apologies when it comes to his work on the Flint water investigation.
He said his team did everything they could to deliver justice to the families in Flint.
“I am here to defend the equality and integrity of the Flint water investigation,” Schuette said.
Schuette said his office of special prosecutors left no stone unturned during the three-year probe into the Flint water crisis.
But new Attorney General Dana Nessel disagreed saying his investigation left certain evidence out.
That’s why she decided to hit the reset button and dismiss all criminal charges related to the water crisis.
“A do-over didn’t need to be done and that’s the point. Because we were very hard and charges were pending,” Schuette said.
Schuette’s office charged eight people in the investigation.
“This is probably Michigan’s most complicated criminal investigation in the history of our state. There’s been no other community or city in the United States of America that had the water poison and contaminated,” Schuette said.
Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy said they had to restart the investigation because of major flaws.
Schuette doesn’t agree.
“We did all the right things for all the right reasons all the time,” Schuette said.
Prosecutors said the previous investigation approach and legal theories were not up to par.
“That’s all nonsense. It’s just bogus. This is absolutely untrue, just bogus,” Schuette said.
Nessel’s office claims Schuette’s team entered into agreements that gave private law firms a role in deciding what evidence would be turned over to law enforcement.
Law firms representing agencies including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and even Gov. Rick Snyder.
Schuette said different agencies, like the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the executive office of the former governor, did not have any role in saying what evidence was allowed.
Schuette said he has no regrets.
“We filed 59 charges against 15 people, we got five convictions more ready to go,” Schuette said.
Some of Schuette’s political opponents have even questioned his motives during the water investigation while he ran for governor in 2018.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. Politics never entered in. These were quality people, David Leyton, prosecutor here in Flint. Andy Arena, former head of the FBI. And there’s not one shred of evidence that politics ever entered into anything. There’s no political upside. You know what would have been political if I did nothing,” Schuette said.
Schuette stands by his office’s investigation and believes scrapping it was the wrong move.
“Point is that we had an outstanding investigation. We charged individuals. We had convictions. We were in the middle of probable cause hearings and another jury trial. And that’s been stopped,” Schuette said.
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