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Flint water: Former Michigan governor faces charges of crisis that killed 12 people

The Flint Water Prosecution Team is scheduled to announce its findings at a news conference Thursday morning after former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and former Flint Public Works director Howard Croft were each indicted on Wednesday.

They both face two counts of intentional neglect of duty as part of an investigation into the crisis, according to court documents. The charges are misdemeanors that can be punished with up to a year in prison or a fine of up to $ 1,000, state criminal law shows.

CNN has reached out to a lawyer for Snyder and a lawyer for Croft to comment on the allegations.

Flint has been exposed to extremely high levels of lead since 201

4, when city and state officials switched the city’s water supply from the Detroit Water System to the polluted Flint River in an effort to reduce costs.

The switch was to be temporary while a new supply line to Lake Huron was completed. When the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality could not treat the corrosive water, it ate into the city’s iron and lead pipes and leached into the drinking water.

The contaminated water led to two outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease, a severe type of pneumonia caused by bacteria.

More than a dozen lawsuits and a $ 600 million settlement

Snyder, who served from 2010 to 2018, apologized in 2016 for the state’s role in the crisis.
Legal documents for Republican Snyder show the offense date of April 25, 2014, the same day Flint changed his water source.

Brian Lennon, a lawyer for Snyder, said earlier Wednesday that his client was made a scapegoat by a politically driven special adviser. Lennon called reports that his client would be charged with “unprofitable” and part of a “political escapade.”

Flint Water Crisis Quick Facts

A lawyer for Croft told Detroit News that his client was informed Monday that he would be charged.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office had no comment on the charges Wednesday night.

Flint residents had complained about the poor quality of their water when the Danish Environmental Protection Agency tested water that went into homes there in 2015 and found dangerous levels of lead that can cause serious health problems.

More than a dozen lawsuits, including several class actions, were filed against the state, the city of Flint and some state and city employees involved in the decision to change the source of drinking water and those responsible for monitoring water quality.

Last year, the state reached a $ 600 million settlement with victims and a court-supervised compensation fund was set up.

The legionnaires’ outbursts led to criminal charges against state officials, including Nick Lyon, then director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in 2017.

Prosecutors dropped all criminal charges in 2019, saying the investigation would begin again from scratch, citing concerns about how the special adviser had conducted his probe.

CNN’s Taylor Romine and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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