Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, top aide Rich Baird and former health director Nick Lyon will face criminal charges resulting from the Flint, Mi., water crisis, reports the Detroit News. Former Flint Public Works director Howard Croft also expects to be charged again. Up to 10 people are set to be indicted as soon as Thursday after Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office launched a new investigation in 2019. The water scandal contaminated the African-American-majority city’s drinking water with lead and was blamed for a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2014-15 while Snyder was governor. The looming charges mean Snyder will face a high stakes legal battle over his administration’s handling of the scandal.
Snyder approved putting Flint into state emergency management and was responsible for the state’s response to the lead contamination. Baird oversaw Flint’s recovery effort, Lyon handled the state’s responses to the city’s public health problems and Croft was responsible for the city’s water problems. Brian Lennon, an attorney for Snyder, said it’s “outrageous to think any criminal charges would be filed against” the former two-term Republican governor. The disaster thrust Flint into the national spotlight and resulted in congressional hearings where House Democrats demanded that Snyder resign. He apologized for the crisis but didn’t leave office until his term ended in 2018. The outbreak was announced by Snyder and Lyon, director of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, at a hastily called January 2016 press conference. Lyon conceded he knew cases were being reported months earlier.