March 22 is World Water Day. The Flint Water Crisis in Michigan underlined America's broken infrastructure that all too often disproportionately impacts Black communities the hardest. Now, the years-long legal battle is moving forward.
Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder along with several other officials are required to testify in a civil trial against the engineering firms being sued for the lead-contaminated water pumped into the homes and businesses in Flint, a judge ruled Monday (March 21).
According to ABC News, US District Judge Judith Levy denied requests from Snyder, his former advisor, two ex-state-appointed emergency managers, and a former Flint official to throw out subpoenas that compelled them to testify.
Snyder was one of the officials charged in the Flint Water Crisis, though his attorneys want his misdemeanor charges dropped to clear the way for his testimony or else he'll invoke his Fifth Amendment right on the witness stand.
"The Attorney General should drop misdemeanor charges against Gov. Snyder with prejudice and he will be happy to testify on behalf of the state and tax payers," a rep for Snyder said in a statement. "As he has proven time and time again, he is willing and able to help."
The lawsuit was brought forward by attorneys representing four children impacted by the contaminated water. The suit specifically names two firms: Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, as being negligent and liable for failing to properly treat lead-contaminated water brought in from the Flint River between 2014 and 2015.
They were not a part of the $626 million settlement between Flint residents, Michigan, and others, the outlet reported.
The judge used Snyder's and others' previous depositions as precedent in the decision to compel them to testify. Moving forward, there'll be a hearing to determine how arguments will be heard to avoid self-incrimination.