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Flint water crisis criminal cases moving forward this week

Sep 17, 2017

This will be a busy week for Flint water crisis prosecutors.

A Monday court hearing will handle motions in the criminal cases against five MDEQ employees, including Liane Shekter-Smith. She was was fired from her job as head of the department’s drinking water unit. 

The five (Shekter-Smith, Michael Prysby, Stephen Busch, Adam Rosenthal and Patrick Cook) are facing a variety of charges, including misconduct in office, tampering with evidence, conspiracy, willful neglect of duty.  

They are among 15 people charged in connection with the Flint water crisis.   The criminal investigation has looked into issues related to Flint’s lead tainted water supply and a deadly Legionnaires Disease outbreak during the crisis.

Later in the week, former state epidemiologist Corinne Miller is expected to testify during a preliminary exam for Michigan Health and Human Service Department director Nick Lyon. 

Miller entered a ‘no contest’ plea to a misdemeanor in exchange for agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors.

She is expected to testify that she told Director Lyon the Flint River could be the source of a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak.    But Lyon took no action to alert the public.   More than a dozen people died and many more fell ill with the disease in Genesee County between 2014 and 2015.  

In January, 2016, state officials publicly confirmed the outbreak. 

This past June, involuntary manslaughter charges were filed against MDHHS director Nick Lyon and four other officials.  If he’s convicted, Lyon could face up to 15 years in prison.