LANSING (WWJ) – More criminal charges are expected to be announced Wednesday in connection with the Flint water crisis.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Scheutte along with attorney Tom Flood have been working for over a year on an investigation into the inner workings of how and why the city of Flint switched residential water access from the Detroit Water and Sewerage to the Flint River. Thus far have netted over a dozen charged including two emergency managers.
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports, the new charges will involve “names you will recognize” as authorities move up the bureaucratic ladder.
“This could involve state employees,” says Skubick. “It could also involve Flint employees — nobody is saying who these people are.”
Schuette has filed 43 criminal charges against 13 current and former state and local officials since the start of the Flint Water Investigation, which has included interviews with approximately 200 witnesses.
The first round of criminal charges from Schuette’s Flint Water Investigation were filed on April 20, 2016 against two Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) employees and one City of Flint employee. Schuette’s second legal action took place on June 22, 2016, when he filed a civil suit against water infrastructure firms Veolia and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam for their roles in the Flint water poisoning crisis. In July, Schuette filed 18 criminal charges against four current and two former employees from two state departments.
Last week a judge ruled that portions of a sweeping lawsuit against state and local officials could move forward.
The decision noted that residents who drank lead-tainted water can continue to press ahead with their claim that their right to “bodily integrity” was spoiled by the disastrous decision to distribute water that wasn’t treated to reduce corrosion.
Federal Judge Judith Levy in Ann Arbor said residents so far have sufficiently argued that the conduct of government officials “was so egregious as to shock the conscience” — a key legal standard. The judge dismissed other parts of the lawsuit Monday.
The above lawsuit is one of many in the Flint water mess. For 18 months, the city used the Flint River, but the corrosive water caused lead to leach from old pipes.