FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s former state epidemiologist pleaded no contest on Wednesday to a neglect of duty charge stemming from the investigation into the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint.
Corinne Miller entered the plea to the misdemeanor count in exchange for prosecutors dropping felony misconduct and conspiracy charges. As part of the deal, Miller also acknowledged that she was aware of dozens of cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area two years ago but didn’t report it to the general public.
The city starting using the Flint River as its water source to save money in 2014. A definitive connection between the corrosive water and Legionnaires’ has not been made, but many experts believe it likely was the cause. At least 91 Legionnaires’ cases were detected in 2014 and 2015.
A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated that way for sentencing. Miller’s attorney, Kristen Guinn, said Miller entered the plea because of potential civil actions.
Another past city official, former Utilities Administrator Mike Glasgow, pleaded no contest to neglect in May.
Flint, a financially struggling city of 100,000 people, switched from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River to save money in 2014. But tests later showed that the river water was improperly treated and coursed through aging pipes and fixtures, releasing toxic lead.