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Macomb County Prosecutor says criminal charges possible against Governor Whitmer over nursing home deaths

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Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 18:32:53-05

(WXYZ) — Criminal charges could be in the works against Governor Gretchen Whitmer over putting COVID patients inside nursing homes used as hubs early in the pandemic.

New Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido says 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 a wrongful death.

Lucido says with HIPAA laws, he can’t get that information in his own investigation.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is currently under investigation for allegedly doctoring the number of COVID deaths inside nursing homes. Lucido says only 5 states including Michigan and New York used the care facilities as hubs.

Lucido tells 7 Action News, “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. Of course, we would. Nobody’s above the law in this state.”

Anyone who’s had loved ones inside nursing homes during the last year knows about the pain of COVID deaths in isolation with no in-person visits.

Lucido started looking into this last year as a State Senator. He issued a statement in August that said more than 2,000 residents and 21 staff died in nursing homes, 32% of all deaths.

Lucido is asking people to go back to the nursing homes and gather the vital information surrounding deaths and take it to local police to file a wrongful death report.

He will be meeting with Macomb County Police to instruct them on how to process and verify the information and bring it to his office.

“Why did my mom or why did my dad, brother, sister, or aunt die? Was it because of the policy by bringing in COVID-infected patients that spread to my mom that killed my mother?” Lucido said.

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.

The Attorney General said there was not a proper basis to open a criminal investigation. The U. S. Attorney said they would look into his request.

“I didn’t receive a very warm welcome. This is not political everyone. This is about people who passed away at the behest of a policy that was created by the Governor,” Lucido tells 7 Action News.

We got a statement from Governor Whitmer that says:

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.