Two state, one local official to be charged on 13 counts
Three Michigan officials will face charges to be announced in full detail at a press conference Wednesday afternoon in connection to their role of allowing lead contamination to persist for several years in Flint’s municipal water system, multiple government sources said Tuesday.
These are the first criminal charges to be brought against state and local government officials in the Flint Water Crisis.
As first reported by the Detroit Free Press, state Attorney General Bill Schuette will be filing charges against Mike Glasgow, the city’s laboratory and water quality supervisor; Mike Prysby, a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) official; and Stephen Busch, the suspended Lansing district coordinator for the MDEQ’s Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance.
District Judge Tracy Collier authorized these charges in a Flint courtroom this morning.
Prysby will face six criminal counts: two charges of misconduct in office, and one count each of conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence, engaging in a treatment violation that violates Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act and engaging in a monitoring violation that violates Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.
The five charges that Busch will face are misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence, engaging in a treatment violation that violates Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, and engaging in a monitoring violation that violates Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.
Glasgow is being charged with two counts of tampering with evidence and willful neglect of office.
The three officials did not appear in the Flint courtroom, but they are subsequently expected to be arraigned on the charges by the end of the week, if not later today.
Schuette, related Michigan officials, and many members of Congress believe the city got artificially low lead readings because it deliberately didn’t test the homes most at risk – those with corroded pipes, lead service lines, or other features putting them in the highest risk category.
Glasgow signed the document saying the homes Flint used to test tap water under the federal Lead and Copper Rule all had lead service lines – a statement investigators can now allege was deliberately false, according to sources close to the investigation.
Michigan Governor Snyder, whom many have called to resign over his knowledge of the crisis more than a year in advance of being made public, has maintained his relative innocence and reasserted that he will not be resigning amidst the crisis.
It is unclear how far or how high this investigation will reach within Michigan state government, but sources told the Free Press that Schuette’s investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected.