A county prosecutor in Michigan told a local news station Monday that Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer could possibly face charges for her early handling of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic.
New Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido told ABC Detroit that people who lost loved ones to COVID as residents or staff inside nursing homes should go back to get the vital information about the circumstances of their death and take that to local police and make a complaint as wrongful death.
“If we find there’s been willful neglect of office if we find there’s been reckless endangerment of a person’s life by bringing them in then we would move forward with charges against the Governor,” Lucido said.
“Of course, we would. Nobody’s above the law in this state,” Lucido added.
Lucido “will be meeting with Macomb County Police to instruct them on how to process and verify the information and bring it to his office,” ABC Detroit reported.
“After becoming Prosecutor this year, Lucido asked fellow county prosecutors to form a Blue-Ribbon Committee for consistency investigating these cases. That Association as a group declined and said Lucido should make the request to the Michigan Attorney General and feds. Lucido provided letters showing he did that last May,” ABC Detriot added.
The report said that the U.S. Attorney’s Office would look into Lucido’s request but noted that the attorney general, presumably Michigan’s attorney general, apparently indicated that there was not enough to launch an investigation.
Whitmer’s office said in a statement:
Our top priority from the start has been protecting Michiganders, especially seniors and our most vulnerable. The administration’s policies carefully tracked CDC guidance on nursing homes, and we prioritized testing of nursing home residents and staff to save lives.
Early in the pandemic, the state acted swiftly to create a network of regional hubs with isolation units and adequate PPE to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within a facility. In addition, we have offered 100 percent of nursing home resident priority access to the vaccine. Both the former head of AARP, as well as an independent U-M study, praised our work to save lives in nursing homes.
Mr. Lucido’s comments are shameful political attacks based in neither fact nor reality. Even his former colleague, Republican Sen. Ed McBroom, has said they “have not seen any evidence or testimony that says that a nursing home was forced to take someone against their will.”
And there’s a reason why Mr. Lucido’s colleagues have publicly rebuked this politically-motivated waste of taxpayer dollars. Michiganders are tired of these petty partisan games, and we won’t be distracted by them either.
Republican state legislators have called for investigations into the governor’s handling of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities during the early days of the pandemic.
Michigan State Sen. Jim Runestad spearheaded the push.
“Gov. Whitmer’s regional hub policy placed patients with and without COVID-19 in the same facilities and may have exacerbated the death toll in those facilities,” Runestad said in a February statement.
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