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Former state worker pleads 'no contest' to Flint water crisis-related charge

steve carmody
Michigan Radio
Corinne Miller stands next to her attorney during her court hearing

Prosecutors say there is a link between Flint’s use of the Flint River as its drinking water source and a deadly Legionnaires Disease outbreak. 

The link was announced during a court hearing that saw another former government worker plead to charges in the city’s drinking water crisis. 

This morning, Corinne Miller sat quietly in a Flint courtroom.  The retired state employee was there to plead ‘no contest’ to a charge of willful neglect of duty.  In exchange for her plea, prosecutors are dropping two felony counts.   Miller will likely be sentenced to probation next April. 

Miller is the former director of the state Department of Health and Human Services' Bureau of Epidemiology

Special Prosecutor Todd Flood told the judge Miller was aware of a deadly spike in Legionnaires Disease cases in the months after the city started drinking water from the Flint River and did nothing.

“Further, the defendant reported…that the outbreak was related to the switch from the water source from the Detroit Water and Sewer Department to the Flint River,” Flood told Judge Jennifer Manley. 

A dozen people died and more than 90 were sickened with Legionnaires Disease during the outbreak from 2014 through 2015.   After the hearing, Prosecutor Flood says half the deaths occurred after Miller and 2 other state health department officials were aware of the outbreak.

“They had notice and they knew bad things were going happen.  And when those bad things weren’t prevented that to me is disturbing,” Flood told reporters. “They could have prevented it. They could have used tools. They could have put out an alert. They didn’t do anything.”

Corinne Miller declined comment after leaving the courtroom. But she will be back.

As part of her plea deal, she’s cooperating with a criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis. Former Flint city water director Mike Glasgow is also cooperating with prosecutors.  He also reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Seven current and former state employees are facing felony charges for their alleged roles in the city’s drinking water crisis. 

Special Prosecutor Todd Flood says more charges may be coming as the investigation continues.    

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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