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Former Michigan governor charged in connection to Flint water crisis

Former Michigan governor charged in connection to Flint water crisis

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) on Wednesday was officially charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty in connection with the ongoing investigation into the Flint water crisis. 

The Associated Press reported that the charges against Snyder from the Michigan attorney general’s office are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The AP noted that the charges mark the first time in Michigan’s 184-year history that a governor or former governor has been charged with crimes related to their time in office. 

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The crisis in Flint exposed thousands of residents, including young children, to water with dangerously high levels of lead, an element that can cause brain damage and other defects with high exposure.

The contamination has been linked to the deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia. According to the AP, authorities counted at least 90 cases of the disease in Genesee County, including 12 deaths. 

Snyder’s lawyer, Brian Lennon, told the AP he could not immediately comment on the charges. 

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) and investigators have scheduled a news conference related to the investigation for Thursday.

The legal filing comes after the AP reported Tuesday that Snyder, who served as governor until 2019, and other top former state officials including the Michigan health director would face charges resulting from the Flint water crisis investigation. 

Defense attorneys were informed by the state attorney general's office to expect an initial court appearance soon, the AP reported, citing two people familiar with the prosecution. The two sources familiar with the matter spoke to the wire service on the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about the charges.