Schuette blitzes media in defense of Flint investigation

    Bill Schuette
    Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, April 20, 2016 in Flint | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Former Attorney General Bill Schuette has been increasingly vocal in defense of his office’s investigation of the Flint water crisis in recent weeks, fighting back charges from new prosecutors on the case that it was “flawed” and incomplete.

    Having been mostly silent on the topic since leaving office at the beginning of this year, Schuette spoke up with a June 13 tweetstorm after Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office announced it was dropping all pending charges in that investigation. 

    Since then, in the past week alone Schuette has penned two op-eds defending the way that investigation was conducted by his former independent special counsel Todd Flood, and appeared on a Lansing-area radio show to rebut its critics in the new administration.

    “The Flint water crisis is NOT about politics or who is the Governor, or who is the Attorney General or who are the defendants. I put together an experienced review team, with courtroom experience and solid, impeccable credentials,” Schuette wrote in MLive. 

    Worthy and Hammoud
    Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud at the Michigan attorney general’s office Flint town hall | Derek Robertson

    “Charging decisions were always made with painstaking thoroughness. When the evidence matched the elements of a crime and the jury instructions, then charges were filed.”

    Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud, the new leader of the investigation, along with team member Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, harshly criticized Flood’s investigation at a Flint town hall last week, saying his office failed to take all evidence from state agencies into account when bringing charges.

    “We’re supposed to have everything, look at it, and make a decision,” Hammoud said. “That’s not the way things happened in this case.”

    Flint town hall
    Michigan attorney general’s office Flint town hall | Derek Robertson

    Former Michigan Circuit Court Judge David Hoort, who was part of the investigation under Schuette, wrote an op-ed defending the investigation as well for the Detroit Free Press last week, saying, “Reasonable people can disagree as to the charges that were brought or the likelihood of success in court. … But all our decisions were made by the book, driven by hard facts.”

    Since his unsuccessful 2018 gubernatorial run, Schuette’s political future has been the subject of widespread speculation. Asked by radio host Dave Akerly last week if he planned to run for state Supreme Court, Schuette said only that he’s “looking at a variety of different public sector options and private sector options.” He also said he will be part of the effort to reelect President Donald Trump in 2020.

    Derek Robertson
    Derek Robertson covers local government, education, health care and the social safety net, and LGBTQ issues. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington, and before that covered local politics in Chicago. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He enjoys film, the Detroit Pistons and his cat. He once competed in the National Spelling Bee, but was eliminated before any potential ESPN appearances.

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