The Latest: Snyder halts some Flint water investigations

AP News
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Posted: May 26, 2016 12:07 PM

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on Flint's crisis with lead-tainted water (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is calling for a halt of administrative investigations into how two state agencies dealt with the Flint drinking water crisis, after being warned they are hampering state and federal criminal probes.

Snyder's office released letters Thursday from state Attorney General Bill Schuette and U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. The emails raised concerns about a state police investigation of the Department of Environmental Quality's role in the lead contamination of the city's water supply.

Schuette also complained about inquiries targeting the state Department of Health and Human Services being conducted by the state auditor general and the department's inspector general.

He said they could have a "chilling effect" on the criminal probes and might cause obstruction of justice.

Charges already have been filed against two DEQ employees. A Flint municipal official has entered a no-contest plea.

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8:10 a.m.

Michigan is paying criminal defense bills for two state employees charged amid Flint's crisis with lead-tainted water.

The state Department of Environmental Quality is paying fees for Stephen Busch and Mike Prysby, who are charged with evidence tampering, misconduct in office and safe drinking water violations.

The Detroit Free Press reports Michigan must provide or pay for defense for state employees sued in connection with their jobs, but not those facing criminal charges.

Prysby, a former DEQ district engineer, and Busch, a supervisor in the DEQ's drinking water office, were charged in April. The DEQ says fees currently are capped at $50,000 each.

Separately, The Flint Journal reports Flint says in response to some lawsuits it was acting as an "arm of the state" during decisions leading to the crisis.