Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director, and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, which devastated the majority Black city with lead-contaminated water and was blamed for a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2014-15, insiders say. Two people with knowledge of the planned prosecution told the AP on Tuesday that the attorney general’s office has informed defense lawyers about indictments in Flint and told them to expect initial court appearances soon. The AP could not determine the nature of the charges against Snyder, former health department director Nick Lyon, and others who were in his administration, including Rich Baird, a friend who was the governor's key troubleshooter while in office.
Courtney Covington Watkins, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said only that investigators were "working diligently" and "will share more as soon as we’re in a position to do so." Snyder’s attorney, Brian Lennon, released a blistering statement, saying a criminal prosecution would be "outrageous." Snyder, a Republican who has been out of office for two years, was governor when state-appointed managers in Flint switched the city’s water to the Flint River in 2014 as a cost-saving step while a pipeline was being built to Lake Huron. The water, however, was not treated to reduce corrosion—a disastrous decision affirmed by state regulators that caused lead to leach from old pipes and spoil the distribution system used by nearly 100,000 residents. (A foreman at the water plant warned that "people are gonna die.")