DETROIT (WWJ) – In an unprecedented move, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will testify in Detroit’s bankruptcy trial Monday afternoon.

If court proceedings go ahead as planned, Snyder will become the first sitting governor to testify under oath in the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

It could be an uncomfortable day for Gov. Snyder as he takes the stand, according to U of M Bankruptcy and Business Law Professor John Pottow.

“I believe that you will detect a certain amount of friction in the courtroom,” Pottow told WWJ’s Kathryn Larson.

Pottow said Snyder will likely be faced with a game of 20 questions over whether or not the city held “good-faith” talks with creditors before the filing.

“They’ll question him and question him and say, ‘Well, why did you pick Mr. Orr? What was your plan? What were you going to do?” he said. “I would suspect a relatively aggressive stance toward the governor, and pushing him and challenging him on answers if he seems evasive or generally trying to cast out.”

While Pottow believes Snyder will be grilled, he’s not expecting anything crazy to happen in court.

“I don’t think this is going to be like Perry Mason, where you have a smoking gun kind of thing and the governor collapses on the stand and says ‘You’re right, you’re right. It was all bad faith.’ You’re not going to see that,” he said.

So what will you see?

“You’re not going to know until the end, until all the guys have testified and Judge Steven Rhodes conducts this, sort of, amorphous totality analysis — which by the way, once he makes his decision, I think will be very difficult to appeal because it is so subjective,” he said.

The trial could end next week, but a decision on Detroit’s bankruptcy eligibility appears to be several more weeks away. The judge has set a Nov. 13 deadline for lawyers to file legal briefs on certain issues.

Continuing Coverage: Detroit Bankruptcy


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