2021-01-12 19:35:05 –
ED WHITE, DAVID EGGERT, TAMMY WEBBER
Flint, Michigan (AP) — Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, his director of health, and other former officials were allegedly charged after a new investigation into the Flint water scandal. The Associated Press learned, blamed on polluted water and the deadly outbreak of legionellosis.
The two, who knew of the indictment plan, told AP on Tuesday that the Attorney General’s office had informed the defendant’s lawyer about the indictment in Flint and told them to expect their first appearance soon. They weren’t allowed to speak publicly, so they spoke to the AP on anonymous terms.
The Associated Press can determine the nature of the accusations against Snyder, former health director Nick Lyon, and others in his administration, including his friend Rich Baird, who had major troubleshooting of the governor during his tenure. There wasn’t.
Courtney Covington Watkins, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office, said investigators were “working hard” and “sharing more as soon as they were in a position to do so.”
Republican Snyder, who was absent for two years, said in 2014 when a Flint state manager switched the city’s water to the Flint River as a cost-cutting step while the pipeline to Lake Huron was being built. Served as governor. However, the water was not treated to reduce corrosion. A disastrous decision confirmed by state regulators caused lead leaching from old pipes and ruined the water distribution system used by nearly 100,000 inhabitants.
Snyder’s lawyer, Brian Lennon, issued a ferocious statement on Tuesday, saying the criminal charge was “outrageous.” He said state prosecutors refused to “share information about these accusations with us.”
“Rather than finding the truth according to the evidence, the Special Advisory Office seems to be targeting former Governor Snyder in a political escape,” Lennon said.
Mr Snyder apologized for the catastrophe in a 2016 state speech and said governments at all levels had failed Flint.
Lian Walters, the mother of four allegedly exposed to lead contamination, said she wanted to know more about the charges.
“The fact that people are held accountable is an amazing feat,” Walters said. “But when people’s lives are lost and their children are badly hurt, it doesn’t seem to be enough.”
The disaster made Flint a national symbol of government mismanagement, residents lined up for bottled water, and parents were afraid that their children would be permanently damaged. Lead can damage the brain and nervous system, causing learning and behavioral problems. The crisis was highlighted as an example of environmental fraud and racism.
At the same time, bacteria in the water were blamed for the outbreak of legionellosis. Legionella can emerge through the mist and cooling system, causing severe pneumonia, especially in people with a weakened immune system. Authorities counted at least 90 cases in Genesee County, 12 of whom died.
The outbreak was announced by Snyder and Lyon in January 2016, but Lyon admitted that he knew that the case had been reported months ago.
In 2018, Lyon was ordered to be tried for manslaughter after a special counsel accused him of not notifying the public of the outbreak in a timely manner. His lawyer claimed that he did not have enough reliable information to share before.
By June 2019, the entire Flint water survey had been upside down for more than three years and millions of dollars. A prosecutor working under the new Attorney General, Dana Nessel, has dismissed the proceedings against Lyon and the charges against seven more, saying the investigation will begin anew. They said that not all available evidence was pursued by a previous team of prosecutors.
This decision did not affect the seven who did not challenge the misdemeanor. They worked with investigators and their records were eventually scraped clean.
A Lyon lawyer said he was turned down when he asked the prosecutor for a copy of the new charges. The new case “will be a tragedy of justice,” said Chip Chamberlain.
Testimony at the court hearing raised a question about when Snyder knew about the outbreak of legionellosis. Harvey Hollins, his urban affairs adviser, told the judge that the governor had been notified on Christmas Eve 2015. But Snyder told reporters three weeks later in January 2016 that he had just learned about it.
Defendant lawyer Randy Levin said Monday he was informed that Baird from Flint would be prosecuted. Another lawyer, Jamie White, said former Flint public works chief Howard Croft has been charged.
“When the Flint water crisis broke out, he volunteered to raise his hand instead of being assigned by Governor Snyder to go to Flint,” Levine said of Baird.
Resident Edna Sabucco, 61, said the lead service line in her home for more than 40 years had been replaced, and more than 9,700 other people in Flint had been replaced, but still using water purifiers.
“In my opinion, he wiped things out under the rug. He should have sung like a canary, so he was guilty like everyone else,” Sabukko said of Snyder.
Separately, states, flints, hospitals and engineering companies have agreed to a $ 611 million settlement with residents over the water crisis, with $ 600 million from Michigan. The judge is considering whether to give preliminary approval.
White was reported by Detroit. Egart reported by Lansing. John Fresher of Traverse City contributed to this story.
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Michigan plans to charge ex-Gov. Snyder in Flint water probe – Twin Cities Source link Michigan plans to charge ex-Gov. Snyder in Flint water probe – Twin Cities