Court hearings continue for officials implicated in Flint water emergency

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FLINT (WJRT) (3/19/2018) - Two class action lawsuits filed on behalf of Flint residents affected by the water crisis are expected to head to trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that it will not get involved in the cases, meaning the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to push them to trial stands.

Both are civil rights lawsuits against city and state officials. They were filed in the wake of the water emergency.

Activist Melissa Mays and several other parents filed one of the suits on behalf of themselves and their children.

"I am thrilled that the highest court in the country feels that we have the right to sue and deserve our day in court," Mays said in a statement.

Also Monday, former Emergency Manager Darnell Earley and Howard Croft, the city's former Director of Public Works, were expected in court for a status update as they await the beginning of testimony in their preliminary exam.

Earley is facing four felonies and a misdemeanor charge. They are involuntary manslaughter, false pretenses, conspiracy to commit false pretenses, misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty in office.

Croft is facing three felony charges, including involuntary manslaughter, false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses.

Their hearing has been delayed until May.

The Attorney General's Office said the judge pushed them back to allow the AG's Office to finish the preliminary exams for Dr. Eden Wells and Nick Lyon, both senior staffers at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The individual exams for Wells and Lyon have been ongoing for months, with several witnesses called.

Dr. Marc Edwards, a researcher from Virginia Tech University, has been subpoenaed by both of their attorneys. He's expected to give testimony next week.

Edwards said he's not surprised he was asked. He explained his team generated most of the factual evidence regarding lead in the water and the warning of Legionnaires' disease.

The prosecution has rested in the hearing for Lyons. On Thursday, his defense team will be calling witnesses.

The defense rarely calls witnesses during a preliminary hearing.

When testimony from both sides is complete, the judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to push the case to trial.

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