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Subject 'Absolutely Shameful': Michigan Judge Drops Flint Water Crisis Charges Against 7 Officials
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Original Message A Michigan judge on Tuesday dropped felony criminal charges against seven former officials in connection to the 2014 Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people and killed dozens.

Genesee County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Kelly's decision stems from a Michigan Supreme Court ruling in June that deemed state prosecutors' use of a one-man grand jury to issue indictments legally improper, throwing into doubt efforts to hold ex-officials accountable for a water disaster that has had lasting impacts on Flint residents.

"The threat of lead contamination is not over, as we've seen from recent monitoring showing rising lead levels in the city's drinking water."

"Because the one-person grand jury does not have the power to issue indictments, the indictments issued in the felony Flint water cases were void ab initio," Kelly wrote. "Therefore, anything arising out of the invalid indictments [is] irreconcilably tainted from inception."

In the eight years since the start of the crisis, which was sparked by a cost-cutting decision to switch the city's water supply to the Flint River without adequate testing and treatment, a number of Michigan officials—including the state's former Republican governor—have been charged with crimes, but none of the charges have held.

Among the officials who had charges dropped Tuesday were former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Nick Lyon and former MDHHS medical executive Eden Wells, both of whom faced nine counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, has been accused of botching efforts to punish officials responsible for the mass lead poisoning and Legionnaires' epidemic in Flint. Charlie LeDuff, a columnist for The Detroit News, explained last month that "instead of holding preliminary examinations, Nessel's office used a one-man grand jury to charge former Gov. Rick Snyder with willful neglect—a misdemeanor—as well as recharging several others with a new round of indictments of manslaughter and misconduct."
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