Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette charged two high-ranking state health officials today in the fourth round of criminal charges in the Flint drinking water crisis, reports the Detroit Free Press. Michigan Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon is charged with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office, both felonies. Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells is charged with obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer. Both are charged in connection with the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Flint area that led to 12 deaths after the city’s water supply was switched to the Flint River in 2014.
Lyon “was aware of Genesee County’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at least by Jan. 28, 2015 and did not notify the public until a year later,” the charging documents allege, adding that he “exhibited gross negligence when he failed to alert the public about the deadly outbreak and by taking steps to suppress information illustrating obvious and apparent harms that were likely to result in serious injury.” Wells is accused in connection with the obstruction of justice charge of providing false testimony to a special agent and threatening to withhold funding for the Flint Area Community Health and Environment Partnership if the partnership did not cease its investigation into the source of the outbreak.