Prosecutor Says Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Could Face Charges Over Nursing Home Deaths
A Michigan prosecutor says Governor Gretchen Whitmer could face criminal charges over her handling of deaths reported by Michigan nursing homes last year.
Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido made that suggestion in light of an investigation into the $155,000 payment made to former Michigan Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon who abruptly exited the position. Republican legislators have launched the investigation amid accusations that the payment may have been what could be considered a "hush payment."
“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 told ABC 7 WXYZ. "Of course, we would. Nobody’s above the law in this state.”
Governor Whitmer has refused to acknowledge the reason for Gordon's sudden departure from the state health department.
In a statement released last week, Gordon stated that he believes "elected chief executives need to make [the] final decision about policy with confidential advice."
"They also need to be comfortable with their agency heads," the statement continued. "Since the pandemic began, many leadership changes have happened in other states. It’s no surprise they would happen in Michigan."
Whitmer’s office has since responded, blasting Lucido in a statement to WXYZ, calling his comments “shameful political attacks based in neither fact or reality.”
The statement went on to say that Michigan prioritized the testing of nursing home staff and patients in order 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 residents priority access to the vaccine."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has faced similar criticism for his handling of data related to nursing home deaths in his state.
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