Gretchen Whitmer
© AP
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
The Macomb county prosecutor said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer could face criminal charges for her COVID-19 nursing home policy in a move some supporters of the governor are calling purely politically motivated.

Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido, who is also a former Republican state senator, said Whitmer could be charged with two state misdemeanors, one count each of willful neglect of office and reckless endangerment of a person's life.

"I've heard from a lot of people in Macomb County. That's what prompted this. I was a legislator first and they were asking me how is it possible I can let my mother or father die in isolation," Lucido said.

The potential charges would be related to the governor's COVID-19 nursing home policy, which included using regional hubs for COVID-positive nursing home patients. Lucido said the policies cause unnecessary deaths early on in the pandemic.

"Somebody has to be responsible for what has happened here," Lucido said.

Lucido said he asked Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's Office to investigate, but says they said no. The prosecutor is still trying to build a case, saying anyone who had loved ones die in nursing homes should contact him about their cases.

State Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-Lansing, said a lack of evidence and charges was telling.
"I think prosecutors aren't supposed to announce possible things. I think that's not exactly how this is supposed to work. If there was real evidence, they'd file a case."
In a written statement, the governor's office called Lucido's comments "shameful political attacks based in neither fact nor reality."

"Anyone who calls this political, I don't think that they lost a loved one, because if they did they wouldn't be saying it's political," Lucido said in response.

Some Democratic lawmakers disagree.

"I think it is a publicity stunt, I think that there is a lot of reason for us all to be focused on what's happening in the nursing homes and to make sure that we're keeping people safe," State Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, said.

"We always knew that the most dangerous place in Lansing was between Pete Lucido and a camera, and I'm glad that hasn't changed since he's got to Macomb County," said Hertel.

The governor's office also points to a statement from Lucido's former Republican colleague, Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, who said in August that they "have not seen any evidence or testimony that says that a nursing home was forced to take someone against their will."

We reached out to the Health Care Association of Michigan, one of the state's professional associations for nursing homes, upon Lucido's request to hear about what he said was their opposition to the state's nursing home policy. The association directed us to the state health department, which supports Whitmer's policy.