Wrap-up: Where criminal cases stand in the Flint water emergency

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FLINT (WJRT) - (10/09/17) - Gov. Rick Snyder mentioned to reporters a few weeks ago he thought the legal process would move quicker.

But more information is leading to new charges.

"There's no speed, there's no time, right? So you don't put anything on that, to do that really is not criminal justice nor criminal process," explained Special Prosecutor Todd Flood. "So, I'm not gonna put a clock on it, I'm just gonna do it right."

The Attorney General's Office opened an investigation into the Flint water emergency just 10 days after the water emergency was declared in Jan. 5, 2016.

Since then, over 200 witnesses have been interviewed, leading to more than 50 criminal charges for 15 state and Flint city employees.

Two people have taken plea deals, but the other cases are beginning to make their way through the court system.

Monday, Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells saw her charges upgraded, implicating her in the death of Robert Skidmore, who died from Legionnaires' disease in December 2015.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Stephen Busch and Liane Shekter-Smith, Emergency Manager Darnell Early and Flint's Howard Croft were charged with involuntary manslaughter in June 2017.

"I think we'd be derelict if we didn't charge her, or amend the charges, I should say," Flood said of the new charges filed against Wells.

Flood explained testimony from Lyon's preliminary hearing this past week made the two new charges possible.

"Based on new review of other documents and testimony that came out last week, you know, we believe that discovery put us in this place," he said.

Also revealed in court, testimony from one of Snyder's aides, Harvey Hollins, suggested the emergency could have been declared sooner.

"Did you ever tell the governor at some point in time about legionella?" Flood asked Hollins. "Later in 2015," Hollins replied. "When was that you told him?" Flood asked further. "December 2015," Hollins answered.

That contradicts what Snyder said while testifying before Congress in March 2016.

"In terms of Legionnaires', I didn't learn of that until 2016 and, as soon as I became aware of it, we held a press conference the next day," Snyder was quoted as telling members of Congress under oath.

Flood said Friday he doesn't foresee calling Snyder to the witness stand in any of the cases. His focus is the cases he's already working on.

Snyder's office declined to comment on the cases.

Lyon's preliminary hearing is expected to resume Nov. 1 while Wells' is expected to begin Nov. 6.

We're also following the cases of MDEQ's Stephen Busch, Michael Prysby, Adam Rosenthal, Liane Shekter-Smith and Patrick Cook, MDHHS's Robert Scott and Nancy Peeler, Flint City employees Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson and former emergency managers Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose.

Flint Water Treatment Plant's Michael Glasgow and MDHHS's Corinne Miller have both already taken plea deals.



 
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