FLINT, Mich. (WJBK) - A top official pleaded no contest Wednesday morning in an investigation into the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint.
Corinne Miller, the former head of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, entered the plea to a misdemeanor count of neglect of duty.
A no contest plea isn't an admission of guilt but is treated that way for sentencing. Miller's attorney, Kristen Guinn, says Miller entered the plea because of potential civil actions.
She admitted in court that she knew about the spike of 42 cases of Legionnaires disease, which resulted in 13 deaths, and failed to issue public health warnings.
This is the first time a connection has been made between the uptick of Legionnaires disease and the water quality in Flint.
"I look at it, that they have notice and they knew bad things were going to happen, and when those bad things weren't prevented, that, to me, is disturbing," says Todd Flood, special assistant attorney general. "Right now we have confirmed 12, 13 [deaths] that just came into play and no telling for others that we don't know."
Miller has agreed to cooperate with investigators. If she does, she can clear her record within a year. A felony misconduct and conspiracy charges were dropped in exchange for the plea.
This comes hours before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is due to arrive in Flint. You can read more about his visit here.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report