FLINT (WWJ) – Two of five people charged in an investigation of Flint’s water crisis are arraigned Thursday.
Judge Nathaniel Perry read the charges against Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, the highest-ranking member of the governor’s administration to charged in this criminal investigation.
“You did intentionally mislead and withhold information about the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Genesee County from Governor Rick Snyder contrary to the duties enjoined upon you by the Michigan public health code and/or directing a health official to discontinue and analysis that would aid in determining the source of the Legionnaires’ outbreak and save lives,” read Judge Perry.
Five people, including Lyons, were charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter in an investigation of Flint’s lead-contaminated water, all blamed in the death of an 85-year-old man who had Legionnaires’ disease.
Also charged Dr. Eden Wells, the state’s chief medical officer, accused of lying and slowing the investigation into Flint’s tainted water.
Her attorney Jerold Lax spoke after court saying that Wells denies the charges. “The charges will be defended vigorously,” said Lax.
The others are people who were already facing charges. They are: Darnell Earley, who was Flint’s emergency manager when the city used the river; Howard Croft, who ran Flint’s public works department; Liane Shekter Smith; and Stephen Busch. Shekter Smith and Busch were state environmental regulators.
At least 91 Legionnaires’ cases were detected in 2014 and 2015, including 12 deaths. Some experts blame Flint’s water, which wasn’t treated at the time to reduce corrosion and became contaminated with lead, but no direct connection has been found.