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The Associated Press reports Rick Snyder will face criminal charges based to the contamination of water in Michigan.
On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that former Michigan governor Rick Snyder and two other officials have been told they will face criminal charges for the Flint Water Crisis. Snyder presided over Michigan in 2014 when, as a cost-saving step, state managers switched the city’s water source to the Flint River. The water had not been treated to reduce corrosion, leading to lead contamination.
Former health department director Nick Lyon and Rich Baird, Snyder’s former troubleshooter, will also be charged, according to individuals with knowledge of the impending prosecution. A spokeswoman for the attorney general said investigators were “working diligently,” and that they “will share more as soon as we’re in a position to do so.”
Snyder has been out of office for two years. His attorney Brian Lennon released a statement, calling a potential prosecution “outrageous.”
“Rather than following the evidence to find the truth,” Lennon said, “the Office of Special Counsel appears to be targeting former Gov. Snyder in a political escapade.”
Snyder and Lyon announced the water’s contamination in 2016, though Lyon admitted he’d heard of citizens developing Legionnaires’ disease many months before. Studies showed the contamination led to an increase in fetal deaths and lower fertility rates. Legionella bacteria also triggered at least 90 cases of a severe form of pneumonia in Genesee County, Michigan. These cases resulted in 12 deaths.
Lyon faced involuntary manslaughter charges after a special prosecutor accused him of failing to inform the public about the outbreak in a timely manner.
In a court testimony, Snyder’s former urban affairs adviser Harvey Hollins knew about the Legionnaires’ outbreak even earlier than Lyon admitted. According to Hollins, the governor was informed on Christmas Eve 2015. Three weeks later, Snyder told reporters he’d just learned about them.
Stay tuned for further updates on the case.