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Genesee County judge’s ruling puts water crisis cases on hold for 4 months

Judge Duncan Beagle is inspecting grand jury records before passing them to the defendants on June 14
These nine defendants are facing a total of 42 charges filed for their alleged roles in the...
These nine defendants are facing a total of 42 charges filed for their alleged roles in the Flint water crisis.(source: WJRT)
Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 5:15 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - A Genesee County judge made a key decision Monday, making it clear the Flint water crisis criminal cases will take some time.

In a hearing Monday, Judge Duncan Beagle ordered all transcripts and records from grand jury testimony be delivered to him for an in-camera inspection. That review will take some time and he doesn’t expect to hand over the materials to the defendants for four months on June 14.

Beagle said much of the testimony still has to be transcribed. He is planning to hire another staff person to help move the process forward quicker.

“I want to assure the attorneys and the parties that we’ll do this as quickly and efficiently as we can, but this is a serious matter and it certainly deserves the time that the court will give to it,” Beagle said.

Nine people were indicted by a one-person grand jury for crimes alleged in connection with the Flint water crisis:

Former Gov. Rick Snyder

  • Willful neglect of duty for allegedly failing to properly supervise employees under his administration
  • Willful neglect of duty for allegedly failing to protect residents by declaring a State of Emergency for Flint.
  • Snyder faces up to one year in jail or a $1,000 fine if convicted.

Rich Baird, a top aide to Snyder

  • Perjury during an investigative subpoena review for allegedly making false statements under oath to a special assistant attorney general on March 1, 2017.
  • Misconduct in office for allegedly misusing public resources while working for Snyder.
  • Obstruction of justice for allegedly interfering with ongoing legal investigation of the Flint water crisis.
  • Extortion for allegedly threatening a leader of the Flint Area Community Health and Environmental Partnership during the investigation into a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.
  • Baird faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan’s former chief medical executive

  • Nine counts of involuntary manslaughter related to the deaths of John Snyder, Debra Kidd, Brian McHugh, DuWayne Nelson, Nelda Hunt, Peter Derscha, Thomas Mulcahy, Arthur Percy and Patricia Schaffer in July and August 2015 from Legionnaires’ disease.
  • Two counts of misconduct in office for allegedly preventing information about a Legionnaires’ outbreak to be circulated in Genesee County.
  • Willful neglect of duty for allegedly failing to protect the health and welfare of Flint residents.
  • Wells faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Nick Lyon, former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director

  • Nine counts of involuntary manslaughter related to the deaths of John Snyder, Debra Kidd, Brian McHugh, DuWayne Nelson, Nelda Hunt, Peter Derscha, Thomas Mulcahy, Arthur Percy and Patricia Schaffer in July and August 2015 from Legionnaires’ disease.
  • Willful neglect of duty for allegedly failing to protect the health and welfare of Flint residents.
  • Lyon faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Gerald Ambrose, former state-appointed Flint emergency manager

  • Misconduct in office for allegedly allowing the city of Flint to incur debt in violation of Michigan law.
  • Misconduct in office for allegedly failing to switch Flint’s drinking water source back to Detroit’s system when he had knowledge of ongoing water quality and health concerns with the Flint River water being used from January to April 2015.
  • Misconduct in office for allegedly directing a Flint consultant investigating water quality and health concerns not to consider switching the city back to Detroit’s water system in early 2015.
  • Misconduct in office for allegedly committing the city of Flint to a $7 million emergency loan in April 2015 aimed at addressing its ongoing budget deficit shortly before leaving office. The loan allegedly impeded the city’s efforts to switch back to Detroit’s water system.
  • Ambrose faces up for five years in prison if convicted.

Darnell Earley, former state-appointed Flint emergency manager

  • Misconduct in office for allegedly allowing the city of Flint to incur debt in violation of Michigan law.
  • Misconduct in office for allegedly distributing misleading information about the quality of Flint’s drinking water on Jan. 2 and 9, 2015, and refusing to switch the city back to Detroit’s water system when he had concerns about ongoing water quality and health concerns.
  • Earley faces up for five years in prison if convicted.

Nancy Peeler, manager of the Early Childhood Health Section at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

  • Misconduct in office for allegedly concealing the results of an epidemiological analysis concerning elevated blood lead levels of Flint children on July 25, 2015.
  • Misconduct in office for allegedly misrepresenting information concerning elevated blood lead levels of Flint children on Sept. 23, 2015.
  • Willful neglect of duty for allegedly failing to act upon indications of elevated blood lead levels of Flint children from July through September 2015.
  • Peeler faces up for five years in prison if convicted.

Jarrad Agen, former director of communications for the Snyder administration

  • Perjury during an investigative subpoena review for allegedly making false statements under oath to a special assistant attorney general investigating the Flint water crisis on on Feb. 11, 2017.
  • Agen faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Howard Croft, former Flint Department of Public Works director

  • Willful neglect of duty for allegedly failing to communicate the risks of health effects facing the Flint water system.
  • Willful neglect of duty for allegedly failing to communicate concerns about corrosion in the Flint water system.
  • Croft faces up to one year in jail or a $1,000 fine if convicted.

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