Wayne State researcher says state medical director tried to withhold funding

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FLINT (WJRT) A Wayne State University researcher said Michigan's top medical official tried to place roadblocks in the research into what caused a Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Flint.

Dr. Shawn McElmurry testified Monday during a preliminary hearing for Dr. Eden Wells, who is Michigan's chief medical executive. He told the court that Wells tried to withhold funding and seemed to narrow the scope of study so researchers couldn't find a root cause.

A judge is working to determine if Wells will face trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and obstruction of justice related to the Flint water emergency.

Prosecutors in the Michigan Attorney General's Office have alleged Wells tried to withhold funding for the Flint Area Community Health and Environmental Partnership.

McElmurry gave similar testimony during a preliminary hearing for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon.

During the water emergency, McElmurry was asked by the state to look into whether the city's water source switch to the Flint River caused the Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

McElmurry testified Monday, while conducting the study, Wells was his point of contact with the state health department. He said he brought up in multiple meetings with her the issue of what he considered improper oversight.

"MDHHS was interested in narrowing the scope to kind of focus our work but also to us it felt like they were making it less likely that we would be able to effectively analyze whether or not the change in the water supply caused an increase in diseases," McElmurry testified.

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