“We believe there is no evidence to support a criminal charge against Governor Snyder,” said defense attorney Brian Lennon on Wednesday evening, adding that prosecutors have not yet given him details.
Lennon said Tuesday that a criminal case would be “outrageous”. Snyder and others were due to appear in court Thursday, followed by a press conference by Attorney General Dana Nessel and prosecutors.
Charges are expected against others, including former officials who served as his state health director and senior advisor, alongside Snyder, a Republican who served as governor from 2011 to 2018.
The alleged crime date is April 25, 2014, when a Snyder-appointed emergency manager who ran the struggling, black-majority town, made a money-saving decision to use the Flint River for water while a regional pipeline from Lake Huron was under construction.
However, the caustic water was not treated properly and carried lead from old plumbing into homes in one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in US history.
Despite desperate pleas from residents who had jugs of discolored, stinking water in their hands, the Snyder government seized a Doctor reports increased lead levels in children about 18 months later.
“I’m sorry and I’ll fix it,” Snyder promised during his state of the art speech in 2016.
Authorities counted at least 90 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County, including 12 deaths. Some experts found that the water treatment system did not contain enough chlorine to fight legionella, which can cause severe pneumonia when spread through fogging and cooling systems.
The catastrophe made Flint a national symbol of the decline of government. Residents had to queue for bottled water, and parents feared their children would have suffered permanent damage. Lead can damage the brain and nervous system and cause learning and behavior problems. The crisis was highlighted as an example of environmental injustice and racism.
More than 9,700 home lead service lines have been replaced. Flint’s water, now sourced from a regional agency in Detroit, gets high marks, although many suspicious residents still use filters.
The criminal investigation lasted five years among two teams of prosecutors. Todd Flood, convicted of offenses by seven people, was ousted in 2019 following the election of Nettle Democrat. Fadwa Hammoud then dropped charges in eight pending cases and said the investigation would start over. She said the first team did not collect all of the evidence available.
Separately, the state of Flint, a hospital, and an engineering firm have reached a $ 641 million settlement with residents over the water crisis, with $ 600 million in Michigan. A judge hopes to be able to decide by January 21st whether or not to grant preliminary approval. Other lawsuits, including one against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are pending.