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Charges announced for nine individuals’ actions during Flint water crisis

Defendants facing charges in Flint water crisis
Defendants facing charges in Flint water crisis(WNEM)
Updated: Jan. 14, 2021 at 2:05 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - The Flint water prosecution team addressed the charges announced on Thursday against former Gov. Rick Snyder and eight others for their alleged roles in the lead contamination and legionnaires’ crises that gripped the city for years.

It all began in 2014 with the decision by Snyder’s administration to switch Flint from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River, resulting in pipe corrosion and lead contamination across the city.

Prosecutors on this case called the Flint water crisis a failure of government at all levels. On Thursday, nine people were charged for their part from the former governor down to the Flint director of public works.

“This is one of the largest criminal investigations underway in the world,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.

Worthy and Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud announced after 12 months of grand jury proceedings, nine individuals have been indicted on a total of 42 counts related to a series of alleged actions and inactions that created the Flint water crisis.

“The Flint water crisis is not some relic from the past,” Hammoud said. “Nobody, no matter how powerful or well-connected is above accountability when they commit a crime.”

Snyder has been charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty. Each count is a one-year misdemeanor or a $1,000 fine.

Nick Lyon, former health director for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, has been charged with nine counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of willful neglect of duty.

Eden Wells, a former chief medical executive with the MDHHS, has been charged with nine counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of willful neglect of duty. Additionally, Wells was charged with two counts of misconduct in office, each a five-year felony.

Jarrod Agen, the former director of communications for Snyder, was charged with one count of perjury, a 15-year felony.

Gerald Ambrose, a former city of Flint emergency manager, has been charged with four counts of misconduct in office, each a five-year felony.

Richard Baird, a former senior adviser for Snyder, has been charged with one count of perjury, a 15-year felony, one count of official misconduct in office, a five-year felony, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of extortion, which is a 20-year felony.

Howard Croft, former director of the city of Flint Department of Public Works, has been charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty.

Darnell Earley, the former city of Flint emergency manager, has been charged with three counts of misconduct in office, each a five-year felony.

Nancy Peeler, with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, has been charged with two counts of misconduct in office, each a five-year felony.

“Trampled on their trust and avoided accountability for far too long,” Hammoud said.

All defendants have turned themselves in and were arraigned Thursday morning. They have all bonded out.

“Pure and simple, this case is about justice, truth and accountability,” Worthy said.