The state official heading the Flint water criminal probe insists they are not “starting over," even as the prosecution team is getting revamped.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is being brought in to advise the Flint water prosecution team. Todd Flood, who has been leading the investigation, and others who’ve been with the probe since the beginning are being reassigned to new roles on the prosecution team.
Fadwa Hammoud is Michigan’s Solicitor General. Attorney General Dana Nessel put her is charge of the Flint water investigation earlier this year.
Hammoud bristled at suggestions the changes mean the investigation into the Flint water crisis is “starting over.”
“This is in no way…we have to start over,” Hammoud told reporters. “We’re not throwing everything out and starting from zero.”
But one result of the changes will likely mean court cases against eight defendants will be put on hold as the new prosecution team takes shape.
Seven other defendants have already cut plea deals with prosecutors.
Hammoud declined to say if new charges may be filed or if some existing cases may be dropped.
The state is facing 79 civil lawsuits seeking damages related to Flint’s lead tainted drinking water.
“The people of Flint deserve nothing short of justice” says Nessel. “We are currently in discussions on the civil cases. And we’re hopeful we will be able to resolve them and provide justice to the people of Flint.”
Lead levels spiked after the city’s drinking water source was switched to the Flint River in 2014. At least 12 people died from a Legionnaires disease outbreak that occurred at the same time of the drinking water switch, though a definitive link between the switch and the outbreak remains unclear.