(The AEGIS Alliance) – Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is facing charges of two counts of willful neglect of duty due to the Flint water crisis, online court documents reveal. The crisis that started in 2014, left the city of Flint’s drinking water contaminated with lead and some blame it for a 2016 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that has killed at least 12 people.
Brian Lennon, an attorney representing Snyder, said, “We believe there is no evidence to support any criminal charges against Governor Snyder.”
“We have asked the Michigan Attorney General’s Office of Special Counsel for a copy of or at least confirmation of the charges ahead of tomorrow’s arraignment, and she has not yet provided us with either,” Lennon stated. “It’s difficult for us to comment on something we have not yet seen.”
Howard Croft, Flint’s former Department of Public Works director, is also charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty, court documents show. Croft’s attorney confirmed the charges on Wednesday evening and said he will turn himself in on Thursday at 8 a.m.
Jamie White, Croft’s attorney, said they were told to expect charges but had not been informed what the charges will be.
White insisted Croft didn’t do anything wrong, and said, “The idea that because he was the city works manager, and therefore knew the water was contaminated and did nothing about it, is just not supported by the facts.”
Attorney General Dana Nessel, Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy will speak on Thursday morning at a press conference to announce the outcome of the state’s criminal investigation into the crisis.
Representatives for Rich Baird, a former aid to Snyder, also confirmed they were told to expect to be charged.
An attorney for former health director Nick Lyon hasn’t confirmed if Lyon was told to expect charges but said any charges filed against his client would be “an absolute travesty of justice.”
Lyon was previously charged with in connection with the crisis resulting from an investigation that started while Snyder was still governor. The charges against Lyon and several other officials were and a fresh investigation started under now Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. in 2019
The crisis started in 2014 when the city of Flint changed its water source from treated water from Detroit to the Flint River as a way to save on costs. The city , which caused excessive amounts of lead to leach from old pipes into the water and be pumped directly into Flint residents’ homes.
Authorities found 90 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County, where Flint is located, including 12 deaths. Some experts determined the water-treatment system lacked enough chlorine to control legionella bacteria, AP News reported.
However, legal representatives for Lyon dispute the cause of the outbreak. They noted a 2019 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that discovered evidence that the same strain of legionella bacteria has been infecting people at a local hospital since 2008, prior to the city changing its water source.
According to Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley, the replacement of household water service lines is “nearly complete.” Of the 26,750 lines that have been excavated, fewer than 500 are left to be checked, Neeley stated.
Flint, Michigan residents received a $600 million settlement in August 2020.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.