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Why convene a Grand Jury to indict Former Governor Rick Snyder?

"To me, Grand Juries, I call them star chambers, they're super secret,” West Michigan attorney Ven Johnson said.
Rick Snyder Water Web Pic
Posted at 6:53 AM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 06:53:51-05

GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. — A West Michigan attorney says AG Dana Nessel's office may have chosen to convene a Grand Jury to indict Former Governor Rick Snyder because their case against him isn't as strong as they would like.

Former Governor Rick Snyder was formally charged Thursday with 2 counts of willful neglect of duty for his role in the Flint Water Crisis. He face a year behind bars and a $1,000 fine for each of the misdemeanor counts.

8 other people were charged alongside Snyder on Thursday, some of them facing multiple felony counts and several decades in prison in convicted.

"To me, Grand Juries, I call them star chambers, they're super secret,” West Michigan attorney Ven Johnson told FOX 17 Thursday afternoon.

"It's just interesting... Why wasn't he charged with more? And these are the kind of questions you love to ask, but you'll never know."

We will likely never know what evidence was and wasn't presented to the Grand Jury, nor what sort of instructions they were given in terms of issuing charges.

“In Michigan, in our state criminal justice system, it's rarely, rarely used. And in the federal criminal justice system, it's used a lot,” Johnson said.

Leaving some with questions around why the former governor was only charged with the 2 misdemeanors.

“If it's done in secrecy, then something is wrong with it. That's where my brain goes," Johnson said.

"Because you have a prosecutor in there, you have witnesses, and they're being asked questions, and a Grand Jury, but no criminal defense attorney, because no one's been charged yet… So the prosecutor basically can do pretty much whatever they want to do.”

Snyder pleaded not guilty on Thursday, so there will of course be a trial where the State will show what evidence they have to support the indictments, but we'll never know what was and wasn't shown to the Grand Jury.

Johnson saying that, “In this case, I think they wanted to have a kind of a practice run, very candidly, and wanted to see how the grand jurors responded to the evidence and these charges.”

You can find more detailed information about what charges everyone is facing in this new round of indictments HERE.

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