Top-ranking state health officials arraigned in Flint

State health officials in court for Flint

FLINT, MICH. - Editor's note: A previous version misidentified Nick Lyon's attorney; Larry Willey was the lawyer addressing reporters. This version also corrects Dr. Eden Wells' title. She is chief medical executive.

Two of the highest-ranking Michigan health officials were arraigned today in connection with the deadly Legionnaires Disease outbreak that occurred during the Flint Water Crisis.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Nick Lyon was charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office. Dr. Eden Wells, the MDHHS chief medical examiner, was charged with one count each of obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer investigating a crime.


Michigan Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon walks past reporters after appearing at the 67th District Court in downtown Flint on Thursday June 15, 2017 for his arraignment on charges of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office for his role in the Flint water crisis. (Photo: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press)

The arraignment in the 67th District Court in Flint comes one day after Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette brought the charges against Lyon and Wells, and upped the charges of four other defendants who were charged earlier.

Former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley, former Michigan Department of Environmental Quality drinking water chief Liane Shekter-Smith; DEQ drinking water official Stephen Busch; and former City of Flint Water Department manager Howard Croft each face involuntary manslaughter charges.

Judge Nathaniel C. Perry III issued Lyon a $15,000 cash/surety bond on each count with a 10% commission. Perry denied a personal bond for Lyon because the case involves a death. Lyon is charged in connection to the death of 85-year-old Robert Skidmore, who died of Legionnaires Disease in December 2015.

Perry issued Wells a $25, 000 personal bond on each count.

An attorney for Wells said that his client vehemently denies the charges against her.

“The charges will be defended vigorously,” said Jerold Lax. “And further, I expect it will be clear that Dr. Wells is a competent, dedicated, and respected health professional, and that any action she took during this unfortunate situation was taken only for the purpose of protecting legitimate public health concerns.”

Lyon's attorney Charles Chamberlain told reporters as he was exiting the court that he doesn't foresee a settlement in this case.

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© 2017 Detroit Free Press


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