The list of former Flint officials charged in the city’s drinking water fiasco grew to nine as Michigan prosecutors unveiled a sweeping package of indictments with charges ranging from misdemeanor neglect of duty on up to manslaughter.
The defendants — including former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who was first charged the day before — were released on bail after pleading not guilty at their arraignments Thursday morning, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Two of the former officials face involuntary manslaughter charges; other charges include extortion, obstruction of justice and perjury.
Snyder pleaded not guilty to two relatively lower-level counts of willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor, during a Zoom court appearance.
He was released on a $10,000 bond after being ordered not to leave the state without permission from the court. He faces up to a year in prison or a fine of up to $1,000.
Snyder is the only Michigan governor to ever have been charged with a crime connected to running the state, the Free Press noted.
“Let me be clear, there are no velvet ropes in our criminal justice system,” Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud told reporters.
“Nobody, no matter how powerful or well connected, is above accountability when they commit a crime,she said, adding that the former officials “evaded accountability for far too long.”
The indictments follow a year’s worth of grand jury proceedings.
Snyder’s former chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, was charged with one count of felony perjury, as did his former senior advisor, Richard Baird; the charge carries a possible 15-year prison sentence.
The former state director of health and human services, Nicolas Lyon, faces the same possible sentence for each of nine counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The state Department of Health’s former chief medical executive, Eden Wells, also faces nine counts of involuntary manslaughter, each carrying a possible five-year prison sentence.
The current state early childhood health manager, Nancy Peeler, faces two felony counts of misconduct in office, each carrying a possible 5-year sentence.
Flint’s former emergency manager, Darnell Earley, faces three felony counts of misconduct in office, each carrying a possible five-year sentence.
Flint’s former emergency manager, Gerald Ambrose, faces four counts of felony misconduct in office, each carrying a possible five-year sentence.
The former director of public works, Howard Croft, faces two counts of misdemeanor willful neglect of duty.
Prosecutors declined to say how much the prosecution cost when asked by reporters; a $600 million civil payout was agreed to in August.
Nine charged in Flint water fiasco, ex-Gov. Snyder pleads not guilty The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.