DETROIT (Reuters) – Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, his health director and other former state officials have been told they will be charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.
Two people with knowledge of the planned prosecution told the AP on Tuesday that the Michigan attorney general’s office has informed defense lawyers about indictments in Flint and told them to expect initial court appearances soon. AP said it did not know what the nature of the charges was.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office was “not in a position to comment on the details of the team’s ongoing investigation, but they are working diligently,” spokeswoman Courtney Covington Watkins said in an email.
Snyder’s attorney Brian Lennon said Nessel’s office has refused to share information about any potential charges related to the Flint water investigation and called the reports “a public relations smear campaign.”
“It is outrageous to think any criminal charges would be filed against Gov. Snyder. Any charges would be meritless. Coming from an administration that claims to be above partisan politics, it is deeply disappointing to see pure political motivation driving charging decisions,” he said in a statement.
Flint’s troubles began in 2014 after the city switched its water supply to the Flint River from Lake Huron to cut costs. Corrosive river water caused lead to leach from pipes, contaminating the drinking water and causing an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
Snyder, a Republican who has been out of office for two years, was governor when state-appointed managers of Flint switched the city’s water source.
Snyder was succeeded by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; editing by Jonathan Oatis)