A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist is taking Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer to court over her administration’s refusal to release data on deaths of nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Charlie LeDuff, who won a Pulitzer in 2001 for his work at the New York Times, said he will be partnering with the Mackinac Center in his suit against Whitmer:
We are preparing a lawsuit against Gov. Whitmer of Michigan.
She refuses to turn over COVID death data and accurate nursing home numbers to the public.
All the way to the Supreme Court, Madam.
Thanks to the@MackinacCenter, who has agreed to take our case.https://t.co/sH3BtfZ32m pic.twitter.com/le65xN83SP
— Charlie LeDuff (@Charlieleduff) February 27, 2021
“The public has a right to know,” LeDuff told Fox News in an email on Monday. “Above all, the public has a need to know. We shut down the entire economy, we interrupted our children’s lives, all in the name of protecting the most vulnerable. We now know this was the institutionalized elderly. If we could not protect them, at the very least we deserve an explanation from Madam Governor.”
“If there’s something more to it than that, let’s say gross incompetence or gross negligence or gross press conferences designed to cover the facts, then she needs to answer for it,” LeDuff said. “As I’ve always said, the power lies with the people, not the political parties.”
In an appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” LeDuff said that his request is “nonpartisan” and should be as simple as checking a tabulation.
“You can’t get them. I’ve been asking for months,” he said. “What we want to know [is] what we know from the virus, [that] it kills the institutionalized elderly. That’s who it took out. I want to know exactly what has happened.”
Whitmer has been under fire for some time now over her handling of nursing homes and long-term care facilities during the pandemic, instituting policies that closely mimicked those of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“Cuomo institutes this [nursing home policy] in March. He issues blanket liability to the nursing homes. Whitmer follows two days later and does the same thing. Cuomo is keeping statistics and getting called out in New York. So by May, he ends the practice,” LeDuff told Carlson. “Whitmer doubles down in May and we’re still doing it to this day.”
LeDuff also claims that Michigan didn’t even keep track of COVID counts in state-regulated nursing homes until June, and it didn’t begin officially tabulating deaths until July.
“What also happens in December is, a new number shows up, an asterisk called ‘vital records deaths,'” LeDuff said of the “death data” for other facilities, like adult foster homes he received in December. “Those are people that died before when we weren’t counting. I want to know when they died and where they died. I can’t get it. They won’t give it. So I’m suing.”
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