A Michigan reporter has announced his intention to file a lawsuit against Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer over the release of data on coronavirus deaths in nursing homes across the state.
Charlie Leduff, a long-time journalist and media personality, tweeted on February 27 that he was preparing a lawsuit against Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. His podcast, “No BS News”, detailed the lawsuit in its latest episode. According to Leduff, the lawsuit alleges Whitmer has refused to hand over the data on the number of nursing home deaths in Michigan due to the coronavirus outbreak. Leduff has partnered on the suit with the Michigan think tank The Mackinac Center, which describes itself as “a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government.”
Leduff believes Whitmer is withholding coronavirus death data and nursing home numbers to cover up what may be negligence regarding the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. “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 [Whitmer] needs to answer for it,” Leduff said in an email to his former employer, Fox affiliate WJBK. Leduff claims his multiple requests for the coronavirus death data were refused by Whitmer, and further explains his grievances in his email, saying, “The public has a right to know. 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.” The lawsuit aims to uncover any mishandling of the coronavirus in nursing homes by the state. Leduff told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson he has been asking for the data “for months” and has not been granted access.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of New York governor Andrew Cuomo coming under fire for withholding the number of nursing home deaths due to COVID-19 in the state last year. Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf is also being questioned by Republican lawmakers in the state about his policy to reallow COVID-19 patients who had been treated in hospitals back into their nursing facilities to recover. The Michigan lawsuit against Whitmer is currently being prepared, and according to Leduff’s Tweet, he is ready to take the case “all the way to the Supreme Court” if necessary. Leduff is an award-winning journalist who won a Pulitzer prize as a contributor to a group series in The New York Times in 2001. He has also faced some controversy over allegations of plagiarism and inaccurate reporting in the past. Whitmer’s office has not yet issued a public statement on the upcoming lawsuit.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE NEW YORK TIMES