ABC12 News reporting referenced in criminal complaint about Flint's water emergency

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FLINT (WJRT) - (12/21/16) - Former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley turned himself into a judge to face formal charges Wednesday. Earley and three others were the latest to be charged by Michigan's attorney general over Flint's Water Emergency.

The criminal complaint filed actually references an ABC12 News investigation into the Legionella outbreak.

The extensive complaint tries to prove those four men knew about high lead levels in the water and a deadly Legionella outbreak long before it was made public.

Former Emergency Manager Darnell Earley and the three others were charged by Michigan's attorney general and plead not guilty. Bill Schuette says they put finances before people.

"There has been this fixation, almost this obsession, with balance sheets and metrics and finances and this has been done at the expense of people and health and safety,” he said at a press conference Tuesday.

Schuette also tried to prove the two emergency managers knew about a deadly Legionella outbreak long before they say they did.

The criminal complaint refers to ABC12 News reporter Jessica Dupnack asking the EM at the time, Jerry Ambrose, about cases of Legionnaires' disease at McLaren hospital. Flint's water department had been working with the hospital to test for the bacteria.

The complaint says Ambrose talked to colleagues, including predecessor Darnell Earley, and Earley suggested the message they'd put out there is Legionella was a problem internally at McLaren, not a Flint water problem.

"Flint deserves better, the people of Flint are not expendable so to move on is unacceptable,” Schuette said.

In January 2016, an ABC12 News report revealed McLaren found Legionella in its water system back in August 2014; just days later, the state finally acknowledged its possible connection to the Flint River.

The two emergency managers are facing three felony charges and a misdemeanor. The two city employees are facing two felonies; they hold a penalty of fines and/or up to 20 years behind bars.

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