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Prosecutor rejects Ohio GOP lawmaker’s attempt to criminally charge Gov. DeWine for COVID-19 response

TiffinOhio.net Staff

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State Rep. John Becker (left), Gov. Mike DeWine

An Ohio state lawmaker’s attempt to criminally charge Gov. Mike DeWine (R) with seven felonies and three misdemeanors, including terrorism, for his response to the novel coronavirus pandemic has failed.

State Rep. John Becker (R-Clermont County) filed a private citizen affidavit Monday in Clermont County Municipal Court, accusing the governor of several charges:

  • Engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony
  • Complicity, a second-degree felony
  • Terrorism, a second-degree felony
  • Making terroristic threat, a third-degree felony
  • Inducing panic, a third-degree felony
  • Conspiracy, a third-degree felony
  • Bribery, a fouth-degree felony
  • Interfering with civil rights, a first-degree misdemeanor
  • Coercion, a second-degree misdemeanor
  • Patient abuse or neglect, a second-degree misdemeanor

Clermont County Prosecutor Vince Faris reviewed Becker’s affidavit and quickly dismissed the request for charges.

“I don’t think policy decisions should be criminalized. These are policy matters, not a criminal charge,” Faris said.

DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said Becker’s accusations are “patently absurd.”

“If this were serious, I would have a comment. Because it is patently absurd, I do not,” Tierney said in a statement.

Becker is among the biggest critics of DeWine in the state legislature and views the governor’s response to COVID-19 as amounting to a “constitutional crisis.”

The decision to delay primary election voting, the temporary closure of some businesses, the mask mandate — to Becker, these are the instances of DeWine assuming “dictatorial powers” and violating Ohioans’ constitutional rights.

“Governor DeWine has also held private businesses and their corresponding licenses hostage through the use of coercion by subordinate government officials to enforce his arbitrary and unlawful orders,” Becker said in the affidavit.

A recent poll showed 72% of Ohioans approve of DeWine’s handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Becker was one of four state lawmakers who joined together in August to seek the removal of DeWine from office. The impeachment effort was quickly quashed by Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima).

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