The former prosecutor who led the Flint water criminal probe against 15 current and former state or local officials is no longer part of the case, Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office confirmed Monday.
The decision to fire Todd Flood was related to the Friday discovery of 23 boxes full of evidence in a government building basement.
The discovery included a file titled “phones/wiped,” the Associated Press and MLive reported Friday. The boxes contained millions of documents that have led prosecutors with the attorney general’s office to request a six-month freeze in the case to analyze them.
Thursday marked the five-year start of the Flint water crisis.
Flood, who former Attorney General Bill Schuette appointed special prosecutor in charge of the criminal investigation, was fired April 16, according to Nessel’s office.
“Todd Flood’s contract was terminated; he did not resign,” Michigan Department of Attorney General spokesman Dan Olsen told the Michigan Advance.
Flood did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.
Nessel’s office did not explicitly state what Flood should have done differently, but cited the new evidence in a statement.
“It recently became clear that discovery was not fully and properly pursued from the onset of this investigation,” Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud said. “The decision to terminate Mr. Flood’s contract reflects our ongoing commitment to execute the highest standards in the prosecution of the Flint Water Crisis. Our standards demand a full accounting of all evidence that may inform the people’s investigation.”
Nessel appointed Hammoud in January to take over leadership of the investigation from Flood. The attorney general had been highly critical of Schuette’s decision to hire an outside private attorney to direct the criminal prosecution.
Nessel’s office is currently defending other leadership changes related to the Flint water crisis in court, after New York attorney Corey Stern filed a motion to disqualify the Michigan Attorney General’s office from all Flint water suits because of “irreconcilable conflicts of interest.”
Stern alleges that Nessel’s office created a conflict when it ordered state attorneys who are defending Michigan officials — including GOP former Gov. Rick Snyder — against Flint residents’ class action lawsuit to also represent residents seeking financial damages against engineering companies that did work in Flint.
The criminal investigation will not broaden to include Flood, Hammoud continued in her statement.
She thanked the former special prosecutor’s “contributions as we fully transitioned this case back to the people’s law firm — the Michigan AG’s Office.”
Hammoud continued, “We now have a team of career prosecutors and investigators who bring decades of experience and an unshakeable commitment to the public interest. I am especially grateful for the continued leadership of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who is working jointly with our team to provide invaluable guidance and legal expertise.
“Moving forward, our team will aggressively pursue all evidence that may shed light on the enormous injury inflicted upon the people of Flint,” she said. “A failure to meet this standard would undercut the cause of justice. As a publicly-accountable investigation, we are motivated solely by the public interest and the demands of justice.”