Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office obtained and used search warrants to seize mobile devices used by GOP former Gov. Rick Snyder related to the ongoing Flint water crisis investigation.
Nessel’s office released the warrants to the Michigan Advance Monday after the Associated Press first obtained them in an open records request. The warrants were signed two weeks ago by a Flint judge and show that investigators asked for Snyder’s former state-owned cell phone, iPad and computer hard drive.
The May 19 warrant allowed investigators to comb through call history lists, text messages, pictures, audio files, emails, instant messaging and other data, including calendars and GPS directions and comes after a federal judge in April added Snyder back as a defendant in a class-action lawsuit related to the Flint water crisis.
Investigators requested similar information from electronic devices operated by 33 employees who worked in the then-Department of Environmental Quality or the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The Department of Attorney General through the Flint water criminal prosecution team is investigating the Flint water crisis as a whole,” said Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud in a statement.
“As stated in recent motions, the prosecution is aware of substantial potential evidence that was not provided to the original prosecution team from the onset of the investigation,” she continued. “The team is currently in the process of obtaining this evidence through a variety of means, including search warrants. The team is also conducting a thorough review of existing and newly received evidence pertaining to the Flint water crisis.”
Nessel appointed Hammoud to lead the ongoing investigation in January. Her office later fired former Flint water crisis Special Prosecutor Todd Flood — who led the probe under former Attorney General Bill Schuette — after 23 boxes of evidence were found in a government building basement, her office announced in late April.
It’s not immediately clear whether those boxes contained this evidence. Flood had originally obtained the evidence requested by Nessel’s office through investigative subpoenas, AP reported.
Hammoud then obtained the evidence through a search warrant to a division within the attorney general’s office.
Brian Lennon, an attorney representing Snyder, declined to comment.