Andrew Trunsky, DCNF
Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and several of his top aides were reportedly told that they will face charges for their role in the Flint Water Crisis, which began in 2014 and left the city of approximately 100,000 without clean water for years.
Two people aware of the charges told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the Michigan attorney general’s office has made their defense lawyers aware of the coming charges and told them to shortly expect court appearances. The nature of the charges against Snyder, a Republican, former heath department director Nick Lyon and other his aides remained unknown.
A spokesperson for the Michigan attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Snyder was in his first term as Michigan’s governor when state officials changed Flint’s water source to the Flint River as a temporary cost-cutting measure while a new pipeline was being built to supply the city with water from Lake Huron. The polluted river water, however, was not treated to reduce corrosion, resulting in it leaching lead from the archaic pipes it flowed through and risking the health of the city’s 100,000 residents.
The switch, made by officials overseeing the city’s path out of bankruptcy, catapulted Flint into the national spotlight as families were forced to rely on bottled water for cooking, cleaning and drinking for years.
The Flint River water also contained bacteria that resulted in a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires Disease. Ninety cases were confirmed in Genessee County, 12 of which were fatal. Snyder and Lyon did not report the outbreak until 2016, despite the fact that Lyon knew that cases had been reported months earlier, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Lyon was charged in 2018 with involuntary manslaughter, but the entire Flint investigation changed in 2019 when Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel succeeded former Republican Bill Schuette and vowed to start the investigation over again.
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