Testimony begins in case against official charged in water crisi - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Testimony begins in case against official charged in water crisis

Nick Lyon (Source: Michigan Department of Health & Human Services) Nick Lyon (Source: Michigan Department of Health & Human Services)
FLINT, MI (AP) -

The highest-ranking government employee criminally charged in the ongoing water crisis was in court Thursday to determine whether the case against him will move forward.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon is facing felony charges, including involuntary manslaughter.

He's accused of failing to alert the public about the deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Genesee county, which led to the death of 85-year-old Robert Skidmore in 2016. 

>>Click here to see our past coverage of the Flint water crisis<<

It was a long day in court as the judge heard testimony from two witnesses.

The first testimony was from former Deputy Director of Health and Human Services Department Tim Becker. He said he began asking questions about Legionella an entire year before the department made an official announcement.

Special Prosecutor Todd Flood discussed what Becker knew and if they could’ve informed the public earlier.

"This same warning that you did in 2016, that ground water PFC issue. Could you have done that had you known those numbers in 2015?” Flood asked

“Yes that could've been done,” Becker responded.

Flood also asked when that warning was issued in 2016, if Becker consulted with Lyon.

Becker said Lyon told him to go with his gut about whether to announce the warning.

The judge also heard testimony from Dr. Marcus Zervos, an infectious disease expert.

Flood asked Zervos what he believed caused the Legionnaires’ outbreak.

"My opinion is the most plausible, most likely explanation was the change in the water was responsible for the increase in Legionnaires cases in Flint,” Zervos answered.

Flood then went on to ask Zervos if, in his medical opinion, the Health and Human Services Department should've stepped in earlier to protect the public health.

The defense objected, saying Zervos didn't have the expertise to make that decision.

Zervos said the health department’s job is to protect the public's health.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly