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WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Friday denied a request from four Flint, Michigan officials who asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block lower court rulings that said they could be sued over lead contamination in the water supply.

Their motion was directed to Justice Sotomayor, who handles such appeals from that region. Without explanation, as is the usual practice, she denied their request.

The officials involved in the water crisis argued that they should be immune from a liability suit brought by a Flint woman, Shari Guertin, who said she and her minor daughter suffered injuries from drinking and bathing in water contaminated with lead. After a federal judge refused to throw the lawsuit out, the officials appealed.

A three-judge panel ruled against them in January, saying the officials “created the Flint Water environmental disaster and then intentionally attempted to cover up their grievous decision.” The full Sixth Circuit declined last month to take the case, leaving the panel decision intact.

The four asked the Supreme Court Thursday to put a hold on those rulings, which would have blocked the lawsuits while they pursued a full-blown Supreme Court appeal. It is that request that Justice Sotomayor denied.

The civil lawsuit is separate from any criminal cases. On Thursday, Michigan prosecutors dropped all pending charges against a group of state and local officials accused of a variety of crimes arising from the water crisis.



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Nadler says Mueller should ignore DOJ ‘cover-up’ efforts on testimony

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On Monday, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinscheimer wrote a letter instructing Mueller not to provide any testimony regarding the redacted portions of his report. Mueller had already said he would not go beyond the content contained within his more than 440-page report during his public testimony.

The letter also stated that “any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege.”

Nadler told CNN Tuesday that he didn’t believe that letter was an impediment to Mueller’s testimony, adding that the instruction to do so is “a part of the cover-up of the administration to keep information away from the American people.”

“But I think it’s not going to have a real impact,” he said.

Asked if Mueller must comply with the letter, Nadler said the former special counsel does not.

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Mueller will testify Wednesday in separate sessions before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. In May, Mueller said if he were to testify before Congress that “testimony from this office would not go beyond our report.”

“We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself,” he added. “The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”

A spokesman for Mueller, Jim Popkin, told NBC News on Monday that the former special counsel will give a brief opening statement before offering the entire report as his full statement for the record.

A Democratic House Intelligence Committee aide told NBC News last week that Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., does not “subscribe” to the belief that Mueller is required to “stay within the four corners” of the report.

But a Democratic House Judiciary aide also told NBC News last week that even if Mueller doesn’t go beyond the report, “we think that limitation … can be worked through because there really is such strong language throughout the report even if they didn’t bring it all together in a way that connects it all, to the to the ultimate conclusion.”



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