Energy & Environment

Flint prosecutors say they will appeal after charges dropped in water crisis case

FILE – The Flint water plant tower is seen, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Flint, Mich. The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that charges related to the Flint water scandal against former Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and seven other people must be dismissed. The justices found Tuesday, June 28, 2022 that the judge had no authority to issue the indictments. It’s an astonishing defeat for Attorney General Dana Nessel. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Prosecutors say they will appeal a judge’s recent order that dropped charges against seven defendants in the Flint water crisis case. 

In a statement on Tuesday announcing its intention to appeal, the prosecution team said the “residents of Flint have waited years for their day in court.”

Earlier this month, Judge Elizabeth Kelly ruled that the indictments against seven officials, including former state health department employees, were invalid. 

Kelly’s ruling came after a state Supreme Court decision that took issue with how prior proceedings had been conducted. Specifically, the Michigan Supreme Court took issue with the use of a one-man grand jury to issue an indictment. 

But in their statement, prosecutors said that, despite the issues raised in the Supreme Court’s opinion, they still believed there was a path forward for their case. 

“The Michigan Supreme Court did not abolish the one-person grand jury, but instead more specifically defined the process, leaving a path for the prosecution to pursue charges against the defendants,” they said. 

The charges that were recently dropped were against officials such as former Michigan health director Nick Lyon and former chief medical executive Eden Wells. 

Charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder (R) were not among those that were dropped by Kelly’s order. 

Flint’s drinking water was contaminated after the source of the city’s water was shifted from Lake Huron to the Flint River in 2014. The water wasn’t adequately treated, causing lead from pipes to leach into the city’s drinking water. 

That exposed about 99,000 residents to lead, which has been linked to a number of health issues and has a greater impact on children than adults. 

Short-term lead poisoning has been linked to kidney and brain damage, while longer-term exposure may put people at risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and reduced fertility.

The water source switch has also been linked to a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that killed 12 people.

The dropped charges do not impact the civil Flint water case, which resulted in a more than $600 million settlement for city residents. 

Tags Flint Flint water crisis Rick Snyder

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