Flint plea deal hearing delayed

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Flint — A hearing for an expected plea deal between Flint water crisis special prosecutors and Adam Rosenthal, a water quality analyst with the state Department of Environmental Quality, has been inexplicably delayed.

Adam Rosenthal was expected to appear in 67th District Court before Judge Jennifer Manley, but a court clerk said the case had been adjourned. Special Prosecutor Todd Flood said he couldn’t talk about the reason but that it will be held at a later date.

The Detroit News first reported that Rosenthal had reached a plea deal and would appear before Manley as early as Tuesday morning to plead no contest to an unknown misdemeanor charge. He was originally charged with misconduct in office, neglect of duty and tampering with evidence.

Rosenthal’s attorney James Burdick said he couldn’t comment except that it involved a personal matter he couldn’t discuss.

Rosenthal was expected to be the fourth defendant to reach a plea deal with Flood and the first DEQ staffer to strike such an agreement.

Rosenthal was warned by Flint Water Plant officials they were not ready for operations when the city decided to switch from the Detroit area water system to the Flint River in April 2014.

He also was warned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that high levels of lead are usually due to particulate lead, an indication of a corrosion problem. A task force appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in a March 2016 report that the failure to use corrosion control chemicals in the river water resulted in lead leaching from the city’s old pipelines.

In 2015, Rosenthal allegedly helped manipulate lead testing results and falsely reported they were below the federal action level of 15 parts per billion.