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Lawyers making final pitches in Flint water criminal case

July 11, 2018
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Nick Lyon, left, director of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, listens to defense attorney John Bursch as he delivers his closing argument during Lyon's preliminary examination on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, at Genesee County District Court in Flint, Mich. The head of Michigan's health department, Lyon, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and other crimes. He's accused of not timely alerting the public about a Legionnaires' disease outbreak in the Flint area in 2014 and 2015. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A judge is hearing key arguments in the most significant criminal case related to Flint’s lead-contaminated water.

The head of Michigan’s health department, Nick Lyon, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and other crimes. He’s accused of not timely alerting the public about a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Flint area in 2014 and 2015.

Some experts have tied the outbreak to Flint’s poorly treated water. Legionella bacteria can emerge through misting and cooling systems.

Judge David Goggins must decide whether there’s enough evidence to send Lyon to trial. He’s hearing arguments Wednesday and July 25.

Special prosecutor Todd Flood says Lyon showed “willful disregard” for Flint-area residents. But Lyon’s attorneys have questioned the causes of death of two people cited by Flood.

John Bursch says there’s “not even close to enough evidence” to put Lyon on trial.

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