AG Nessel to announce outcome of Flint water crisis criminal investigation Thursday

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2021

This comes after news of charges being filed against former Gov. Rick Snyder, and several other officials in connection to the case.

Snyder is facing two counts of willful neglect of duty and if convicted he could face up to a year in prison and as much as a $1,000 fine.

Rick Snyder's attorneys have called the "rumored charges" against the former governor a "politically motivated smear campaign".

Snyder's lawyer didn't respond to a request for comment from FRONTLINE but told the Associated Press "there is no evidence to support criminal charges".

The Wall Street Journal reported that "the charging document, a bare-bones filing made Wednesday in state court in Flint, lists only the two charges, and refers to April 25, 2014, as the 'offense date.' That day, Flint officials held a ceremony at the city's water plant to switch its water supply to the Flint River". Residents immediately began complaining about the water's taste and smell and raised other health concerns, such as skin rashes and hair loss.

The deal "puts the needs of children first", she said during the August announcement.

As NPR's Bill Chappell reported at the time the settlement indicated that almost 80% of the funds were earmarked to resolved claims filed on behalf of children and minors. Still, many residents remain skeptical that their water is safe. A judge said she hopes to decide by January 21 whether to grant preliminary approval.

"We believe the proposed settlement as now allocated is just as disrespectful as the injury caused by the water crisis tragedy itself", McClain told MPR.

An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease followed, and residents were found to have drunk water poisoned with lead. The water, however, was not treated to reduce corrosion - a disastrous decision affirmed by state regulators that caused lead to leach from old pipes and spoil the distribution system used by almost 100,000 residents. The crisis upended life in the city, where for months people lined up for bottled water and filters amid reports of heightened anxiety and depression.

That year, when the city was in the process of building a pipe to its new water source out of Lake Huron, it chose to rely on the Flint River for water in the intermediate time without properly treating the water supply to ensure that it wouldn't corrode the pipes and lead to the water being toxic.

Lyon and seven other officials, including the state's former Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells were charged with involuntary manslaughter by a special prosecutor in 2018, but Attorney General Dana Nessel's office dropped the charges before they could stand trial and then started a completely new investigation in 2019, the Detroit News reported at the time.

Snyder apologized for the catastrophe during his 2016 State of the State speech and said government at all levels had failed Flint.

"Unfortunately, during this tumultuous time, it doesn't seem that beating, killing, or poisoning of poor, black, or brown bodies is a crime in the eyes of the law, and these wealthy, white politicians literally get away with murder", said Mays. "I am sorry most of all that I let you down", he said. To you, the people of Flint, I say.

He added: " I take full responsibility to fix the problem".

Other reports by iNewsToday