Judge orders trial of Michigan official on Flint charges

Michigan’s health director will stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges in the deaths of two men linked to an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area. 

Nick Lyon is accused of failing to issue a timely alert to the public about the outbreak. Judge David Goggins said deaths likely could have been prevented if the outbreak had been publicly known.

Some experts have blamed legionnaires’ on the scandal over Flint’s water, which wasn’t properly treated when it was drawn from the Flint River in 2014 and 2015.

Goggins found there is probable cause for a trial. The legal standard isn’t as high as beyond a reasonable doubt. 

The state says at least 90 cases of legionnaires’ disease occurred in Genesee County, including 12 deaths.

Lyon denies wrongdoing. His lawyers say sending the case to trial will “dangerously chill” public employees.

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