Nessel Issues Statement Ahead of Flint Criminal Prosecution Team's Community Conversation in Flint

Contact: Kelly Rossman-McKinney (517) 335-7666
Agency: Attorney General

LANSING – In anticipation of the Flint Water Crisis criminal prosecution team's community conversation being held this evening in Flint, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel offered the following statement:

"Tonight’s community conversation with the Flint Water Crisis criminal prosecution team is an extremely important opportunity for the residents of Flint to receive crucial updates on the investigation, the reasons behind the dismissal of cases without prejudice, and the steps moving forward.

“As essential as it is for the people of Flint to have their questions answered it is equally important that they are assured they will receive justice.

“I spent a great deal of time in Flint as a candidate, talking with hundreds of people and learning their stories. I was – and continue to be – committed to the people of the city of Flint.

“When I took office as Michigan’s Attorney General, I faced a difficult decision about how to manage the Attorney General’s dual role in the Flint Water Crisis: do I work with prosecutors on the criminal side or do I work on the civil litigation side to bring closure to important settlement discussions.  The rules of professional conduct strictly prevent me from doing both.

“I ultimately chose to work on the civil litigation side because resolving those cases properly was of paramount importance to me. On the criminal side, I had long-standing relationships with career prosecutors and career public servants – people who stood for the right things and who I could trust implicitly to do the right thing.

“That is why I very carefully and deliberately appointed my Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy to lead the prosecution team – because they are outstanding prosecutors, they have impeccable credentials, I trust them completely, and they have long demonstrated a commitment to justice above all else.

“Because Fadwa and Kym are on the criminal side and I am on the civil side, they do not report to me and they cannot be overseen by the Attorney General.  That is precisely why it was so important to me to appoint these two extraordinary women to this job – because they will get the job done.

“I appointed Fadwa and Kym with two goals: 1) hold any wrongdoers accountable for their actions, and 2) ensure the integrity of their work so that the residents of Flint could trust the process.

“It is essential we hold everyone accountable who should be – but it is just as critical to make sure that the right people are held accountable.

“In the end, Fadwa and Kym don’t work for me; they work for the residents of Flint, they work for the people.  And they are in Flint tonight to answer the many questions I know people have of them and the work they are doing.

“On the civil side – the side I am leading – we have dozens of cases affecting tens of thousands of people – including most, if not all, of the people attending tonight’s meeting. It’s equally important for all the parties involved in those cases to make sure they are handled appropriately.

“Because I am working on the civil cases, I am screened off from all of the work being done by Fadwa and Kym.  That means I know what the residents of Flint know – when they know it.

“Ethical rules severely limit what I can say about the civil cases and, unfortunately, they also prevent me from having a direct conversation with the people of Flint.  I literally cannot talk to them about their cases without their attorneys present.  To do so would jeopardize not only the civil cases, but the criminal cases as well. As a result, I cannot be there with the people of Flint tonight.

“But that doesn’t mean I won’t be listening to what they have to say.  Tonight I will be watching the livestreamed community conversation with the Flint Water Crisis Prosecution Team so I can do just that: listen to, and understand, the questions and concerns of the people of Flint as we move forward to ensure that justice is done on all fronts."