Snyder team: Flint water case could be doomed over records

DETROIT (AP) — Lawyers for former Gov. Rick Snyder signaled Wednesday that a major challenge is brewing over documents possessed by Flint water prosecutors.

They told a judge that prosecutors did not use an independent team to screen for records that might be protected by attorney-client privilege or Snyder's executive privilege as governor.

The admission by Fadwa Hammoud of the attorney general's office is "stunning and may undermine the entire investigation,” attorney Brian Lennon said in a court filing.

Snyder was recently charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor. The city, under Snyder-appointed emergency managers, used the Flint River for drinking water in 2014-15 without properly treating it to reduce corrosion. Lead from old pipes contaminated the system.

Lennon said records and devices seized by investigators were being stored by a different section of the attorney general's office that was representing state officials in lawsuits by Flint residents.

He told Judge William Crawford that he might have to hold hearings to learn more about the records.

A spokeswoman for prosecutors, Courtney Covington Watkins, said Snyder's defense team was making a “meritless” attack that will be addressed in court. She didn't elaborate.

Separately, Snyder's lawyers have asked Crawford to dismiss the case, claiming it was filed in the wrong county since governors work in Ingham County, not Genesee.

Eight other people were indicted in a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, including two former health officials from the Snyder administration who were charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of nine people from Legionnaires' disease. Some experts have blamed the river.