Snyder-era officials charged in Flint lose court challenge

Associated Press

Flint — A group of people indicted in the Flint water scandal has no right to challenge the evidence in District Court, a judge said.

The decision is a defeat for five people who were charged with felonies through indictments, which are rarely used in Michigan courts.

People typically charged with felonies have a hearing called a preliminary exam at which a District Court judge hears evidence and sends a case to trial or dismisses it. But Genesee County Judge Elizabeth Kelly said that’s not the procedure after an indictment.

Michigan’s highest courts have settled that issue, Kelly said Wednesday.

Nine people, including former Gov. Rick Snyder, were indicted by a judge serving as a one-person grand jury in Flint. Snyder was charged with misdemeanors and wasn’t part of the challenge in front of Kelly.

Snyder-appointed managers tapped the Flint River for water without treating it to reduce corrosion in 2014-15. Lead leached from old pipes. A fatal outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease also has been linked to the water.