I've been appointed Special Assistant Attorney General for Michigan, joining the Special Counsel team for the Flint water investigation. The team is led by Todd Flood, a tenacious and experienced former prosecutor with a superb record of jury trials. Andrew Arena, the former director of the Detroit FBI office, has also been appointed to the investigation team.
The appointment of the Special Counsel team to investigate and potentially prosecute is necessary because the Michigan Attorney General must advise and ultimately defend the state and its agencies in this matter. Attorney General Bill Schuette has established an “iron-clad conflict wall” between the Attorney General’s office and the Special Counsel team, allowing both sides to do their job properly. The Special Counsel team will be pursuing all potential civil and criminal law options, while the AG’s office would defend state actors in resulting litigation and trials.
I'm honored to serve the people of Michigan in the most important environmental law and public health case in the state’s history. What happened in Flint is not simply a tragedy; it was the result of government failure and a breakdown of the environmental law system. For the system to work, government needs to do its job and failings need to be held accountable. Lawyers can’t make sick people healthy or bring back lives lost. But my hope is that our work brings justice and helps right the wrongs committed. And prevents something like this from ever happening again. Coverage from 2016 in the Detroit Legal News.
Update: My appointment as Special Assistant Attorney General (unpaid for over two years) was terminated by the Solicitor General in February 2019. This Michigan Public Radio interview, aired a few weeks earlier, discusses the work I was doing and still hoping to accomplish prior to my termination.