Snyder aide seeks hearing to see Flint water evidence

Associated Press

Flint – A former state official charged in the Flint water scandal asked a judge Friday to give him an opportunity to hear the evidence that led to an indictment.

Rich Baird, former top aide to ex-Gov. Rick Snyder, appears in court, Thursday, January 14, 2021.

Rich Baird, who was a key adviser to then-Gov. Rick Snyder, said he’s entitled to challenge the charges at a hearing known as a preliminary exam, where a judge decides if there’s probable cause to move the case forward.

Indictments in Michigan courts are rare and typically go straight to trial. But Baird’s lawyers said he has an “absolute right” to a hearing when indicted by a one-person grand jury, under their interpretation of state law.

State prosecutors “chose to rely on the archaic one-man grand jury statute in an effort to shroud the proceedings in secrecy,” Baird attorney Randy Levine said. “The defendants have yet to be fully informed of what the government claims that they did wrong.”

Others facing charges in Flint are expected to join Baird’s request.

The attorney general’s office said it was reviewing the court filing and had no immediate comment.

Baird faces four charges, including perjury and obstruction of justice. He was one of nine people charged in January after a second investigation of how Flint’s water was contaminated with lead in 2014-15. Snyder faces two misdemeanors.