FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2019 file photo, Special prosecutor Todd Flood, left, speaks during a motion hearing in Genesee County Circuit Court in Flint, Michigan. Flood, a special prosecutor who spent three years conducting a criminal investigation of the Flint water scandal has been dismissed, officials announced Monday, April 29, 2019, apparently a part of the consequences of the recent discovery of 23 boxes of records in the basement of a state building.(Kaiti Sullivan/The Flint Journal via AP File)
DETROIT – A special prosecutor who spent three years conducting a criminal investigation of the Flint water scandal has been dismissed, officials announced Monday, apparently a part of the consequences of the recent discovery of 23 boxes of records in the basement of a state building.
Todd Flood’s contract was terminated on 16 April. The Michigan attorney general’s office said a judge over the records on Friday as she searches for a period of six months to freeze in the case against Michigan’s former health director Nick Lyon, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter.
“Recently it became clear that the discovery was not fully and properly continues from the beginning of this investigation,” Attorney-General Fadwa Hammoud said in a written statement. “The decision to end the Lord of the Flood contract reflects our ongoing commitment to the implementation of the highest standards in the prosecution of the Flint water crisis. Our standards demand a complete overview of all the evidence that can inform the People in the research.”
Flood, who was hired in 2016 by then-Attorney General Bill Schuette, declined to comment on the criticism when reached by phone, but released a statement defending its work.
“This complex case of official wrongdoing and betrayal of the trust of the public is prosecuted with the utmost attention to the professional standards that justice demands,” he said. “I walk away, knowing that I gave everything I had to give to this cause. The people of Flint deserved nothing less.”
Fifteen people are charged in how Flint’s water was contaminated with lead as a related outbreak of legionnaires ‘ disease in 2014-15. No one is convicted of a crime. Seven people, including key environmental regulators, have pleaded no contest to violations, and their records are wiped clean.
In a court filing last week, the attorney general’s office said lawyers in the office who are defending state officials in civil matters related to Flint water knew about the 23 boxes of documents and computer hard drives.
They indicated that the records were duplicates of what was already there given to the Flood’s team, but the researchers found that was not the case, in some cases, Assistant Attorney General Daniel Ping wrote.
A Flint-area judge is expected to soon decide whether to confirm or the throw of a decision to send Lyon of the process for the death of two people, who had Legionnaires’. But Hammoud, the team now wants a six-month time-out during the contents of the 23 boxes to be assessed. Lyon’s defense attorneys oppose the stay.
Neil Rockind, an attorney who is not involved in the case, said the boxes can help prosecutors or the defense.
“Prosecutors have an obligation to turn over all discovery — statements of witnesses, research reports, lab tests — on the basis of the Michigan court rules,” Rockind explained. “When a prosecutor discovers evidence that has not been reversed, the procedure should really stop.”
Dana Nessel was elected attorney general in November. They said that they would get rid of Flooding if elected, but instead kept him and put Hammoud in the cost of the Flint water research. The research had cost $8.1 million through February, spokesman Dan Olsen said.
“He certainly has the institutional knowledge. … There are people who have been diligently working on the case — Todd Flood and others,” Nessel said in February.
Associated Press writer David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan, contributed to this story.
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