More involuntary manslaughter charges in Flint

Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette charges four more people with involuntary manslaughter in the Flint water probe. (WEYI/WSMH)

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Five people have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in Michigan in an investigation of Flint's water crisis.

The charges are related to the death of an 85-year-old man who had Legionnaires' disease. The five include Nick Lyon, head of the Michigan health department.

The others are people who were already facing charges in the state's investigation of how Flint's water system became poisoned with lead.

They are: Darnell Earley, who was Flint's emergency manager when the city used the Flint River; Howard Croft, who ran Flint's public works department; Liane Shekter Smith; and Stephen Busch. Shekter Smith and Busch were state environmental regulators.

Governor Rick Snyder released a statement Thursday in support of Nick Lyons and Dr. Eden Wells.

Here's what it says:

"Nick Lyon has been a strong leader at the Department of Health and Human Services for the past several years and remains completely committed to Flint's recovery. Director Lyon and Dr. Eden Wells, like every other person who has been charged with a crime by Bill Schuette, are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Some state employees were charged over a year ago and have been suspended from work since that time. They still have not had their day in court. That is not justice for Flint nor for those who have been charged. Director Lyon and Dr. Wells have been and continue to be instrumental in Flint's recovery. They have my full faith and confidence, and will remain on duty at DHHS."

He also released a video of the statement.

Watch it here:

Nick Lyon's attorneys Chip Chamberlain and Larry Williey also released a statement regarding the charges sought against Lyons.

Here's what it said:

"We are confident in our defense of Nick Lyon. The true facts simply do not support the prosecution’s claims. This case appears to be a misguided theory looking for facts that do not exist.

"To that point, we’ve witnessed numerous press conferences by the prosecution that have been intentionally prejudicial to the process and unfair to those targeted. Worse yet, they have made many statements that are completely false.

"We absolutely and vehemently dispute the charges. They are baseless. We intend to provide a vigorous defense of Nick Lyon and we expect the court system to vindicate him entirely."

Here is the video from this morning's press conference regarding charges five individuals will now face in their connection to the Flint Water Crisis.

Flint's Mayor Karen Weaver issued the following statement:

“I’ve said from the very beginning, anyone who had a part in the man-made water disaster that occurred in the City of Flint needs to be held accountable. The deaths that happened because of Legionnaires' disease has been yet another tragedy the people of Flint have been faced with as a result of the water crisis. Manslaughter is a serious charge. It’s good to see that state Attorney General Schuette and his team are taking this matter seriously by bringing such serious charges against those who they believe didn’t do enough to address this public health threat, or to alert the Flint community about it.

I hope that Flint residents will see these charges and know that the fight for justice continues. We all are waiting to see what else the investigation uncovers.”

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