State's chief medical officer charged with involuntary manslaughter in Flint water crisis

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Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eden Wells

A sixth public official is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Flint water crisis.'

On Monday surprise new charges for Dr. Eden Wells.  Wells is Michigan's chief medical officer and had been charged with obstruction of justice and lying to a special agent allegedly for obstructing researchers at Wayne State University from trying to link the corrosive Flint River water to the 2014-2015 outbreak of Legionnaires disease.

"One is involuntary manslaughter the other for misconduct in office," said Todd Flood, special investigator.

This morning Flood said Dr. Wells should also be tried for involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office. But why?

"Based on new review of other documents and testimony that came out last week," he said. "We believe discovery put us in this place.")

Dr. Wells is charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of 85-year-old Robert Skidmore of Mount Morris.  Flood believes Skidmore died because of the mishandling of events in the Flint water crisis.

The new charges had to do with testimony from last week's hearing involving Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon. But what specifically?

"I don't pretend to be able to read the prosecutor's mind," said Jerold Lax, Wells' attorney.  "We'll simply deal with what he says and respond to it."

The hearing this morning could have taken a few days, but after the involuntary manslaughter charge was announced the hearing was over in a few minutes.

The key to get a conviction is whether the lack of judgment on the part of any of these defendants, caused Skidmore’s death, an 85-year-old, with medical issues.  

The new preliminary exam, with the added involuntary manslaughter charge, has been set for Nov. 6, a conviction could land Wells in prison for up to 15 years.