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Michigan prosecutor says he’d charge Gov. Whitmer if nursing home deaths showed ‘willful neglect’

A county prosecutor in Michigan says he would charge Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in connection with COVID-related deaths in nursing homes if her decision to allow some virus patients to stay in such facilities showed a “willful neglect of office.”

Whitmer is being criticized for the state’s plan since the start of the pandemic to put stable COVID patients in long-term care facilities. 

“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,” New Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido told Detroit’s 7 Action News on Monday. “Of course, we would. Nobody’s above the law in this state.”

Lucido also said his office’s investigation into virus-related deaths in nursing homes has been impeded by so-called HIPAA laws that protect patient information. So he’s urged residents who’ve lost loved ones – either a nursing home staffer or resident – to seek out that information and file a wrongful death complaint if appropriate.  

Whitmer called said Lucido’s a “shameful political attacks based in neither fact nor reality.”