DETROIT (AP/CBS DETROIT) — Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder invoked his right against self-incrimination Thursday and declined to answer questions at a civil trial arising from lead contamination in Flint’s water in 2014-15.
Snyder was called as a witness in federal court in Ann Arbor, two days after the Michigan Supreme Court in a separate case said criminal indictments against him and eight other people were invalid.READ MORE: 5-Year-Old Injured In Eastpointe Accidental Shooting; Gun Safety Instructor Says Lock Up Your Guns
Snyder’s appearance was already planned. Lawyers and the judge knew he would formally decline to answer questions while any criminal case was pending.
“Your honor, based on the advice of counsel, I would exercise my Fifth Amendment rights,” Snyder told U.S. District Judge Judith Levy.
He repeated the statement twice to lawyers. Jurors on Wednesday watched a recorded deposition of Snyder, a formal interview with lawyers conducted in 2020.
“I wish this never would have happened,” Snyder said of the Flint water mess.
Flint managers appointed by Snyder, a Republican, switched the city’s water to the Flint River in 2014 without properly treating it. Lead leached from old pipes for more than a year, a disastrous result.
A handful of Flint families are suing Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, known as LAN, claiming the engineering firms bear some responsibility because they performed work at the city’s water plant. They deny liability.READ MORE: Ballot Initiative To Strike Detroit's Adult-Use Ordinance Rejected, Opponents Continue To Fight
Veolia and LAN are not part of the $626 million settlement between Flint residents and the state of Michigan, Flint and other parties.
Snyder was charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty. The charges haven’t been formally dismissed yet following the state Supreme Court decision and could be revived in a new case.
Hours after the court’s ruling on the indictments, Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud said she is still prepared to prove the allegations against them.
In a statement on Tuesday, Hammoud said “these cases are not over.”
“We are prepared and determined to prove the allegations against the defendants in court and are committed to seeing this process through to its conclusion.”
Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy were assigned by Attorney General Dana Nessel in 2019 to lead the criminal investigation.MORE NEWS: 5-Year-Old Accidentally Shoots Self In Foot At Eastpointe Home
© 2022 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.