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Flint water crisis: Criminal charges filed against three officials

Three city and state officials were criminally charged in connection to Flint's water crisis on Wednesday.

Three city and state officials were criminally charged in connection with Flint’s water crisis on Wednesday.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced at a news conference that charges were being filed against Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Michael Prysby and Stephen Busch, and Michael Glasgow, a city of Flint employee.

Prysby and Busch face the more serious charges. Schuette stated that the two “misled federal and local authorities and failed to provide safe and clean water to families of Flint.” Both are suspended without pay, ABC affiliate WJRT reported.

All three are facing both felony and misdemeanor charges.

Michael Glasgow

Michael Glasgow is the City of Flint’s utilities administrator. He is currently on paid leave, according to WJRT.

Glasgow submitted a report of lead level samples in the city to MDEQ in the summer of 2015. According to Michigan Radio, he was advised under Prysby and Busch to resubmit the report with the two highest samples invalidated, which he did.

Glasgow faces two charges, including tampering with evidence and willful neglect of office.

In an interview last month with CNN, Glasgow stated that he was “born and raised here in Flint” and wouldn’t do anything to hurt its citizens. He maintains that he was just following orders and “should’ve questioned some of the direction we were receiving.”

Stephen Busch

Stephen Busch was a supervisor with the Lansing office of MDEQ before he was suspended in January.

In February 2015, Busch stated in an email to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official that the Flint Water Treatment was using an “Optimized Corrosion Control Program.” Lee Anne Walters, a Flint citizen whose water had tested extremely high for lead, contacted the City of Flint about the program Busch referred to. They told her it did not exist.

Schuette is also alleging in the charges that Busch told residents to “pre-flush” their taps the night before getting samples testing, which manipulated test results.

Busch faces five charges, including misconduct in office, tampering with evidence, conspiracy and violations of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.

Michael Prysby

Michael Prysby was a former district engineer at MDEQ.

When Flint switched its water supply in April 2014, Michael Glasgow emailed Prysby, warning him that the city utilities were not ready to treat the water. Glasgow’s concerns went unheard, according to Michigan Radio. Schuette stated that Prysby “authorized an operating permit knowing that the plant would fail to provide clean and safe drinking water to the families of Flint.”

Prysby faces six charges, including two charges of misconduct in office, tampering with evidence, conspiracy, and violations of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.

If convicted, Prysby faces up to 20 years in prison, while Busch faces up to 15 years, and Glasgow faces up to five, according to court documents.

Both Prysby and Busch pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday, while Glasgow did not appear.

More charges to come, says Schuette

Schuette stated in the news conference the three charges were “only the beginning” and that he would “guarantee” there would be more to come.

Schuette stated there is “no target and no one is off the table.” He declined to confirm if anyone else was being investigated, including the governor, Rick Snyder.

After the charges were announced, Snyder said at a news conference that he did not believe he had done anything criminally wrong. He also stated that he had not been questioned by the Schuette’s office.

For the full press conference, watch here:

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