Flint, MI– Nine officials are being charged for their involvement in the Flint Water Crisis with counts including obstruction of justice, willful neglect of duty, perjury, and involuntary manslaughter.

The Flint Water Crisis Prosecution Team announced the indictments in a press conference Thursday morning.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy said this case had to do with “human decency, resurrecting the complete abandonment of the people of Flint, and finally..holding people accountable for their alleged unspeakable atrocities that occurred in Flint, all these years ago.”

“Pure and simple, this case is about justice, truth, accountability, poisoned children, lost lives, shattered families that are still not whole and simply giving a damn about all of humanity,” she said. 

Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud announced to listeners that there are “no velvet ropes in our criminal justice system.”

“Nobody, no matter how powerful or well-connected, is above accountability when they commit a crime,” Hammoud said. “And just as no one in this case was unfairly targeted, no one was given any special passes or privileges.”

These are the officials and their charges in the case: 

Nicholas Lyon, Michigan’s Former Health Director

  • Nine counts of involuntary manslaughter, each count a 15 year felony
  • One count of willful negligence, a one year misdemeanor, “for his failures and grossly negligent performance of his legal duties while director of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to protect the health of the citizens of Michigan.”

Eden Wells, Former Chief Medical Executive

  • Nine counts of involuntary manslaughter, each count a 15 year felony
  • One count of willful neglect of duty, a one year misdemeanor “for her failures and grossly negligent performance of her legal duties while director of MDHHS to protect the citizens of Michigan, in accordance with the public health code.”
  • Two separate counts of misconduct in office, each a five year felony, “for two separate incidences of preventing or attempting to prevent the distribution of public health information about Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County.”
Former Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells leaves the Genesee County Jail after she was charged with nine counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of willful neglect of duty, and two separate counts of misconduct in office for her involvement in the Flint Water Crisis on Thursday, Jan. 14th, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Nancy Peeler, Former Manager of the Early Childhood Health Section of MDHHS

  • Two counts of misconduct in office, each a five year felony, “for concealing, and later misrepresenting data related to elevated blood lead levels of children in the city of Flint.”
  • One count of willful neglect of duty, a one year misdemeanor, “ for her failure to act upon information of those elevated blood lead levels.”

Gerald Ambrose, Former Finance Director and State-appointed Emergency Manager of the City of Flint

  •  Four counts of misconduct in office, each a five year felony, “for acts related to the city of Flint’s finances, as well as Flint’s water supply source.”

Darnell Earley, Former State-appointed Emergency Manager for the City of Flint

  •  Three counts of misconduct in office, each of five year felony, “for acts related to the City of Flint’s finances, as well as misinformation about the quality and safety of the Flint water supply.

Howard Croft, Former Director of the Department of Public Works for the City of Flint

  •  Two counts of willful neglect of duty, each a one year misdemeanor, “for willfully neglecting his duty to ensure the safety and quality of the Flint water supply.”

Richard Snyder, Former Governor of the State of Michigan

  • Two counts of willful neglect of duty, each a one year misdemeanor, “for willfully neglecting his mandatory legal duties under the Michigan Constitution and the Emergency Management Act, thereby failing to protect the health and safety of Flint’s residents.”

Jarrod Agen, Former Director of Communications and Chief of Staff of the Executive Office of Governor Snyder

  • One count of perjury, a 15 year felony, “for giving false statements under oath.”

Richard Baird, Former Senior Adviser and Transformation Manager in the Executive Office of Governor Snyder

  • One count of misconduct in office, a five year felony, for “improperly using state resources and personnel.”
  • One count of perjury. A 15 year felony, “for giving false statements under oath.”
  • One count of obstruction of justice, a five year felony, “for attempting to interfere or influence ongoing legal proceedings related to the Flint water crisis.”
  •  One count of extortion, a 20 year felony, “for threatening a state-appointed research team during their investigation into the source of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Genesee County.”
Attorney Randall Levine puts his arm around Richard Baird, former Senior Adviser and Transformation Manager in the Executive Office of former Governor Rick Snyder outside of the Genesee County Jail after Baird was charged with one count of misconduct in office, one count of perjury, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of extortion on Thursday, Jan. 14th, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

All of the defendants have turned themselves in and have been processed and arraigned.

Snyder and Croft were both arraigned in the Genesee County 67th District Court with Judge Christopher Odette. They both pleaded not guilty, and will have pretrial on Jan. 19 at 8:30 a.m.

Everyone else being charged was arraigned in Genesee County Seventh Circuit Court with Judge Elizabeth Kelly. Their next court date will be Feb. 18th at 3 p.m. 

Hammoud and Worthy could not speak to how long trials would last due to the pandemic, but said they were confident that the charges they announced today could be proved. 

“We do not charge cases that we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” Worthy said. 

When asked if additional charges may come, Hammoud said that if new evidence came to light that would prove a crime was committed, they would “go where the evidence will lead.”

Amy Diaz

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...

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