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Gov. Snyder asked to suspend internal investigations into Flint water crisis

Michigan's Attorney General and the Genesee County Prosecutor, along with the U.S. Justice Department have asked Governor Rick Snyder to halt internal investigations into the Flint water crisis at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Environmental Quality. (File Photo - NBC25/FOX66 News)

UPDATE: The Office of the Auditor General says in a letter to Governor Rick Snyder that, "The OAG will not engage department staff for interviews or information requests regarding this project until further notice."

Michigan's Attorney General and the Genesee County Prosecutor, along with the U.S. Justice Department have asked Governor Rick Snyder to halt internal investigations into the Flint water crisis at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Environmental Quality.

The internal investigation is being handled by the Michigan Auditor General and the Michigan Inspector General.

In a letter to the governor, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said that the "two investigations have compromised the ongoing criminal investigation," that the Attorney General is conducting.

The strongly worded letter also says that a failure to stop the internal investigations "may cause the guilty to go free, obstruct justice, and result in gross injustice to the families of Flint and to the families of Michigan."

The U.S. Attorney's Office also sent a letter concerning an investigation done by the Michigan State Police into the Department of Environmental Quality. In that letter, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade says she learned that MSP investigators threatened the jobs of employees if they didn't answer their questions.

In a statement to FOX66/NBC25 State Police spokesperson Shanon Banner says, "As part of the normal protocol for conducting investigatory interviews, the following statement was read to all employees interviewed as principals: Employees shall fully and truthfully answer questions pertaining to job-related matters or to their conduct, which is under investigation by the department, when ordered to do so. Job-related matters include on-duty conduct, use of department materials, supplies, or equipment, and criminal conduct directly related to the employee's position in the department. Employees are not waiving any rights existing under law or collective bargaining agreements. Employees are subject to discipline, including discharge, for refusing to truthfully answer questions when advised that answers will not be used in any subsequent criminal proceedings and that refusal to answer will be considered insubordination."

Banner went onto say that State Police involvement was limited to assisting the MDEQ in conducting an internal, administrative investigation of MDEQ employees for violations of DEQ policies and work rules.

McQuade points out that the resulting report put together by the Michigan State Police could now endanger their own investigation into the water crisis.

As a result of these letters, Snyder's Chief Legal Counsel Elizabeth Clement has now asked that the internal investigations stop.

Stay with NBC25/FOX66 News for more on this ongoing story.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THE FLINT WATER CRISIS.






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