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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Former Flint emergency manager's hearing set for September

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

A criminal court hearing for a former Flint emergency manager is scheduled for September.

At least for now.

Darnell Earley was originally indicted back in December 2016 on various charges related to the Flint water crisis. But his day in court has been delayed as prosecutors have spent time painstakingly outlining cases against other defendants.

Fifteen current and former government officials have been charged as part of an investigation into the Flint water crisis. Four defendants have reached plea agreements with prosecutors, in exchange for their cooperation.

A half-dozen other defendants have been in preliminary hearings, off and on, since last fall, during which prosecutors have laid out the state’s case against them.

But that log-jam of cases is close to breaking up.

Special counsel Todd Flood told a judge today he hopes to wrap up arguments in both preliminary exams for Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells and state health department director Nick Lyon in the next few weeks.

Judge Nathaniel Perry set a September date for Earley’s and former Flint Public Works director Howard Croft’s preliminary exam to begin.

However, there are still a few hurdles to cross before Earley’s preliminary exam.  

Prosecutors and defense attorneys still need to hammer out issues involving evidence before the hearing can begin.  

There’s also another issue. Flood says prosecutors could reach a plea agreement with another defendant who could be a witness.  

Earley and Croft are charged with “false pretenses” related to the city obtaining a loan prior to the water crisis.  

Two other defendants were also charged with “false pretenses.”

Former city utilities administrator Daugherty Johnson has already cut a plea deal with prosecutors.  Former emergency manager Gerald Ambrose waived his preliminary hearing on the charge. There’s speculation Ambrose might be also be working on a plea deal.