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Felony Charges Dropped in Flint Water Case

2 regulators take plea deals
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 27, 2018 4:05 AM CST
In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo, defendant Stephen Busch, right, listens at Flint District Court in Flint, Mich.   (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP, File)
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(Newser) – Two Michigan environmental regulators implicated in the Flint water scandal pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor Wednesday in exchange for more serious charges being dropped, bringing to six the number of officials who have agreed to such deals. Stephen Busch pleaded no contest to disturbing a public meeting, and Michael Prysby pleaded no contest to a count of violating Michigan's Safe Drinking Water Act. They had been charged with felonies, but those charges and others were dismissed under the terms of their deals, which also require them to testify against others, if needed, the AP reports. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes. Their sentencings are scheduled for Jan. 23.

The plea from Busch, a water supervisor in the state Department of Environmental Quality, relates to his failing to address concerns during an unruly January 2015 meeting in which Flint residents complained about the city's discolored and smelly water after the April 2014 switch from a Detroit-area system to using the Flint River. He had faced involuntary manslaughter and other felony charges. The plea from Prysby, a DEQ water engineer, relates to the improper permitting of Flint's water treatment plant during the switch. Prysby's misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison. The punishment for Busch's charge is up to 93 days in jail. (The Flint City School District thanked Elon Musk for keeping his promise.)

(Read more Flint water crisis stories.)

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