FLINT, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – A federal judge has disqualified himself from handling a Flint water lawsuit because he worked in the city for four months and drank the water.

The state of Michigan raised concerns, saying Judge Mark Goldsmith and staff could become parties in class-action lawsuits. Goldsmith served at the Flint federal courthouse for a brief period in 2014 when the city was using water from the Flint River. He’s now in Detroit.

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Goldsmith said he has no bias against the state or Flint, but he agreed last week to give up a case. The Natural Resources Defense Council and American Civil Liberties Union are suing to try to get new pipes for Flint residents.

In February, the governor’s office released a limited number of emails related to the Flint water crisis including; — Mike Gadola, Snyder’s chief legal counsel and now an appeals court judge, wrote in October 2014 that using Flint River water was “downright scary,” and noted that his mother lived in the city. “Nice to know she’s drinking water with elevated chlorine levels and fecal coliform,” he said, adding, “They should try to get back on the Detroit system as a stopgap ASAP before this thing gets too far out of control.”

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In October, CBSDetroit reported that the public health emergency brought on by Flint’s lead-tainted water supply happened because of lax state oversight, lack of follow up, and outright manipulated data, according to Mark Edwards.

Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor who oversaw research on the lead in Flint’s drinking water, told Zahra Huber at WWJ 950 the dangerous water situation has been going on ever since the city made the switch from Detroit’s water supply to Flint River water in April 2014. It was a cost-cutting measure.

 

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