Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who ran the state during the catastrophic 2014 Flint Water scandal, has been blamed for the crisis that led to the outbreak of Legionnaires disease that killed 12 people.
Snyder He pleaded not guilty Thursday morning Two counts for deliberately neglecting duty before a judge can set the bond at $ 10,000.
The former governor was ordered not to leave the state before his next date on Tuesday. He faces up to a year in prison and a $ 1,000 fine.
Before appearing in Snyder Court, Michigan’s former director of health, Nick Leon, pleaded not guilty to spontaneous homicide charges in connection with the deaths of nine people infected with Legionnaires’ disease during the Flint water crisis.
“We believe there is no evidence to support any criminal charges against Governor Snyder,” former governor’s defense attorney Brian Lennon told the Associated Press Wednesday night, adding that prosecutors had not provided him with any details.
Requests for comment from Lenin on NBC News were not immediately withdrawn. The State Attorney General’s Office has no opinion.
Attorney General Dana Nessel and attorneys are expected to discuss the case during a press conference Thursday morning.
Snyder’s management’s decision in 2014 to divert Flint from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River led to disaster, as untreated river water pipeline erosion and lead pollution.
Criminal charges were filed in 2017 against several state officials, including Lyon, in connection with the outbreak of Legionnaires disease at the same time as the polluted water crisis. Leon, who learned of the eruption in 2015, was accused of failing to inform the public for a year.
Prosecutors dropped the charges against Leon and seven others in 2019.
Experts say the city’s polluted water has led to an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia caused by bacteria that thrive in warm water.
Bryant Nolden, a member of the Geneva County Commissioners who runs a historic recreation center in Flint, celebrated the news that Snyder would be among the accused.
“The buck was stopped at Governor Snyder,” he said. “He really stood out to the people who did this. We need to see how all of this works, but I’m glad to hear that some individuals will be held accountable at the highest level.”
Nolden said he and his neighbors in Flint were disappointed when the earlier allegations were dropped than Snyder. “I was a little worried he wouldn’t go up the ladder.”
Taking Snyder into account does not repair the damage done to Flint – including rising rates of children in need of special education services – but it does improve morale among residents.
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“The residents here are very flexible,” he said. “We have done this, we are dealing with it, but I think it will help in some small way, letting them know that justice will be served because these people will be held accountable for the wrongs they have done here in this community.”
The majority-black city’s Flint residents have been struggling for years to recover from the crisis because their property values have been affected as they have relied on bottled water for months as their primary source of clean water.
The government agreed in August to a $ 600 million settlement in a class action case with Flint residents whose health has been affected, setting up a fund where residents can seek compensation.
Correction (Jan. 14, 2021, 10:17 am): An earlier version of this article was misrepresented when it reached the $ 600 million settlement with Flint State. It was in August, not April.
David K. Lee Contributed.