Former Gov. Snyder charged with willful neglect of duty in Flint water crisis

Formal announcement of charges expected Thursday
Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 7:33 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Court documents released Wednesday show former Gov. Rick Snyder is facing two counts of willful neglect of duty for his alleged role in the Flint water crisis.

An announcement on new criminal charges filed in the Flint water crisis investigation is coming on Thursday. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office plans to release information on who is facing charges and what crimes they are accused of committing leading up to and during the water crisis from 2014 to 2016.

Snyder and two of his top aides are expected to be among those facing charges Thursday. The court documents filed Wednesday show he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty, which carry up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.

Rich Baird, a Flint native who was a top adviser to Snyder, said he expects to face charges.

Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy led Michigan’s second investigation into the water crisis beginning in 2019. They scrapped an investigation started under former Attorney General Bill Schuette and started over.

At that time, charges were dropped against several senior members of Snyder’s administration, including former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon and former Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells. Both had were awaiting trial in Genesee County Circuit Court.

Snyder was governor when the Michigan Department of Treasury appointed emergency managers to oversee Flint’s day-to-day city operations in place of elected officials. The city switched its drinking water source from Detroit’s municipal system to the Flint River while under emergency control.

However, the Flint Water Plant did not properly treat the more corrosive river water and it ate away the protective lining on lead and galvanized water service lines. That allowed microscopic bits of lead to break off the pipes and enter the water supply, poisoning everyone who drank it.

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