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flint water crisis

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder charged in Flint water crisis

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) on Wednesday was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty in connection with the Flint water crisis.

The charges are misdemeanors, and if found guilty, Snyder faces up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Brian Lennon, Snyder's attorney, told The Associated Press "we believe there is no evidence to support any criminal charges," and prosecutors have not shared any details on the case with him.

Snyder served as Michigan's governor from 2011 to 2018. In April 2014, the emergency manager he picked to run Flint decided the city could save money by changing its water source from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River. The water was not treated properly, and lead that leached into it from old pipes made residents sick. The tainted water also led to two outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease, which caused 12 deaths.

For five years, two teams of prosecutors investigated the role Snyder and other officials played in this environmental and health disaster. Charges are also expected for one of Snyder's former advisers and his state health director, AP reports.