Law & the Courts

Michigan to Charge Former Governor Snyder in Flint Water Investigation

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and his wife arrive for the funeral for former first lady Betty Ford in Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 14, 2011. (Rex Larsen/Reuters)

Former Michigan governor Rick Snyder, his health director, and other ex-officials will be charged following a probe into the Flint water scandal that plagued the city and led to a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2014 and 2015, according to a new report.

The attorney general’s office has reportedly told defense lawyers for the officials that indictments are coming in Flint and they can expect initial court appearances soon, according to the Associated Press.

The nature of the charges against the former Republican governor and other officials were not immediately clear, though a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office told the AP that investigators were “working diligently” and “will share more as soon as we’re in a position to do so.”

Snyder was governor in 2014 when state-appointed managers in Flint changed the city’s water to the Flint River as a cost-saving measure while a pipeline was being constructed to Lake Huron. The water was not treated to reduce corrosion, causing lead to leach from old pipes into the distribution system used by almost 100,000 residents.

Meanwhile, bacteria in the water was found to be the cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires’, with at least 90 cases detected in Genesee County, including twelve deaths.

Snyder and former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon announced the outbreak in January 2016, months after Lyon says he knew cases were being reported. 

A new investigation was opened into the scandal in 2019 when new attorney general Dana Nessel dismissed an existing case against Lyon, who was facing involuntary manslaughter charges for allegedly failing to inform the public about the outbreak in a timely manner. Nessel dismissed that case and charges against seven others and began a new probe.

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