On Thursday, Jan. 14, Criminal Defense Attorney Randall Levine of Levine & Levine Attorneys At Law in Kalamazoo issued a statement about the charges against his client, Rich Baird, in connection to the Flint water crisis. Baird, a Flint native who was appointed senior advisor and transformation leader during the Snyder administration, was officially arraigned on the indictment on Jan. 14.
In response, Levine issued the following statement:
“Today, Rich Baird was arraigned on an indictment charging him with perjury, misconduct in office, obstruction of justice, and extortion. The charges are related to his work as an adviser to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder during the Flint water emergency.
The accusations are baseless and appear to be politically motivated. Mr. Baird is innocent of any wrongdoing and is being unfairly prosecuted by the State’s democratic attorney general.
In 2017, Rich was informed by then Special Prosecutor Todd Flood that he was NOT a target of the government’s investigation into the Flint water crisis. He appeared voluntarily and offered sworn testimony because he had nothing to hide.
As a life-long resident of Flint, Rich volunteered to help his community through the horrendous water crisis. In 2016, as a team leader for “Mission Flint,” he worked tirelessly for Flint residents in order to deliver free water filters to every home in need, and replace lead service lines. He led the negotiations with concerned pastors resulting in keeping water distribution pods open until testing showed that the water was safe to drink. He assisted in a partnership between the state of Michigan and the city of Flint in the areas of workforce/economic development and led the community in various medical and education initiatives.
In addition to his work with “Mission Flint,” Baird served as co-leader (with U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox) of the mediation team which led to the creation of the Great Lakes Water Authority and assisted U.S. District Chief Judge Gerald Rosen in the successful resolution of creditor disputes under the Detroit bankruptcy. He created the Office of Good Government and the Office for Performance Transformation for the State of Michigan, designed the Governor's Council on Law Enforcement and Reinvention (CLEAR), and was actively involved in pension redesign, enhancing opportunities for the disabled, ex-offender rehabilitation, and taxpayer reform.
You can see through his work, not only in Flint, but throughout the state, Rich has been nothing but dedicated to serving and making Michigan a better place for all to live.
The people of Flint are justifiably upset and angry about what happened in Flint. Their government failed them at so many levels. However, the evidence will show that Rich Baird is NOT responsible for what occurred to the folks in the town where he grew up. I expect that he will be vindicated.”