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Florida Bulldog

Anonymous Statewide Grand Jury targets Fauci, public health officials for causing overdoses during COVID-19 pandemic

grand jury
Item sold by Gov. Ron DeSantis’s campaign

By Noreen Marcus, FloridaBulldog.org

While the nation responds to the historic spectacle of a Manhattan jury convicting an ex-president of criminal activity, a statewide grand jury in Florida is moving under cover of secrecy toward a political reckoning on behalf of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis loyalists appear to be guiding 18 unidentified Floridians to make a case against the federal government’s pandemic policies. The grand jury’s deliberations are confidential; its public work product looks alarming.

In a report filed on May 21, the Tampa-based grand jury investigating “any and all wrongdoing related to the COVID-19 vaccine” tags federal public health officials with responsibility for an unspecified number of drug overdoses.

The drug in question is Ivermectin, a parasite-fighting paste for animals that, according to the jury’s unnamed sources, was “well-tolerated by most patients” though ineffective for treating the novel coronavirus.

(A consumer warning the Food and Drug Administration issued this year says Ivermectin can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, balance problems, seizures, coma and death.)

The grand jury report makes this bizarre, convoluted argument: Early in the pandemic, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases rejected Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment; some desperate sufferers believed it was a “miracle drug” the government was lying about; because most doctors didn’t dare prescribe Ivermectin, patients obtained it on their own but didn’t know how to use it. Some of them overdosed.

Therefore, the jury concluded, public health officials who trashed Ivermectin caused the overdoses. “This was a profound failure of public health messaging,” the jury’s report says.

grand jury
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifying on Capitol Hill on Monday. Photo: NBC News

“We lay every overdose that occurred at the feet of those who authored this campaign of vilification,” the report states in bold italic type that all but jumps off the page.

FAUCI’S THE TARGET

That may not seem partisan, except for the fact that Dr. Anthony Fauci headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1984 until his retirement in 2022. So while the report doesn’t mention Fauci by name, he’s clearly the target.

And that’s highly political. The Republican governor has called Fauci a “tyrant” who shouldn’t be allowed to “escape accountability.” And who can forget the “Don’t Fauci My Florida” merchandise a DeSantis political action committee sold during his failed presidential bid?

DeSantis was relentless in his attacks on federal pandemic mandates. “When I’m President, there will be a reckoning for the harm they’ve done to kids in pursuit of a political agenda,” he tweeted during his campaign.

Obviously DeSantis isn’t going to be president – at least not in 2024. But the grand jury may deliver that reckoning anyway.

The outspoken Fauci defended himself this week before a Republican-led U.S. House panel that’s airing allegations he covered up the pandemic’s origins. He called the unproven claim “preposterous.”

Fauci was chief whipping boy for hard-right anti-vaxxers in the final years of his storied career. He first came to national prominence when he oversaw the government’s AIDS response in the 1980s for which President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

President George W. Bush awarding Dr. Anthony Fauci the Presidential Medal of Freedom on June 18, 2008.

In December 2022, when DeSantis asked the Florida Supreme Court to empanel the statewide grand jury, Fauci told CNN, “I don’t have a clue … what he’s asking for.”

Fauci noted the Commonwealth Fund, which supports independent health care research, found that vaccines saved 3.2 million lives, 18 million hospitalizations and $1 trillion over two years in the U.S. alone.

“So what’s the problem with vaccines?” he asked. “I mean, vaccines are life-saving.” Seven-hundred-million doses and a tightly contained U.S. epidemic suggest he’s right. Still, COVID-19 was the 10th most common cause of death in the U.S. in 2023.

The May 21 filing is the second interim report from the grand jury after nearly a year’s work. Its 18-month term is scheduled to end on Dec. 26; there may or may not be indictments, more reports and/or a commentary called a presentment.

The first report, released on Feb. 2, defended the DeSantis administration’s opposition to masking and lockdown policies. It said federal public health officials used faulty risk assessments to craft their guidelines.

GRAND JURY BLASTS MESSAGING

The report claimed to be the work of an “apolitical” grand jury that’s defiantly “following the science” wherever it leads.

Gov. Ron DeSantis before he opposed masking

But two of the grand jury’s sources for federal guideline-bashing were dubious.

One was a scientist cited to slam pandemic lockdowns although he died before the pandemic. The other was a research data compiler that questioned the efficacy of masking and recanted two months later.

After reviewing the report, former Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees compared the grand jury unfavorably to an Indiana commission that’s preparing for future virus outbreaks. In Florida, he said, public health has been politicized into a wedge issue.

“Florida is the only state to have a grand jury of this nature,” he said.

The second grand jury report was written as if to avoid the pitfalls of the first report. It summarizes witnesses’ testimony without naming them, so they can’t be vetted independently. Also, the grand jury claims to be conducting an investigation that “may be of value to any future public health crisis.”

The grand jury says its goal is to “highlight avoidable mistakes, many of which have to do with messaging and communications, not science.” It claims federal health officials’ flip-flopping statements about certain treatments – approved for emergency use, then revised after more research – created a “trust deficit” that will take a long time to turn around, adding: “Unfortunately, these failures of effective communication are becoming something of a theme.”

The report ends with a promise to continue investigating them.

A ‘STATEWIDE’ GRAND JURY?

The statewide grand jury’s funding is drawn from the state circuit court budget. Expenditures for the 2023-2024 fiscal year totaled $1,185,102, according to Kylie Mason of Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office. Assuming consistent spending levels, Statewide Grand Jury No. 22 will have cost taxpayers almost $2 million by the end of December.

Jurors are paid $35 per day plus travel expenses and a per diem for meals. Eight salaried legal advisors, assistants to Statewide Prosecutor Nicholas Cox, are involved in the Tampa proceedings.

The term “statewide” grand jury is a misnomer as applied to the jury sitting in Tampa. It includes no one from South Florida, the state’s most populous area, and may not represent a true cross-section of Florida’s electorate.

Under the law covering statewide grand jury selection, the Florida Supreme Court works with chief judges to assemble a pool of prospective jurors based on the “scope of the investigation” or the “convenience” of witnesses, law enforcement or “others.”

For the COVID-19 grand jury, the court picked a cluster of five judicial circuits around Tampa in Hillsborough County. Of the 14 counties within those circuits, all but one have a solid majority of Republican registered voters. The exception is Hillsborough, which has 289,116 registered Democrats and 280,659 registered Republicans, a difference of 8,457 voters, according to data from the Department of State.

Robert ‘Bob’ Butterworth

Who are the 18 people investigating COVID-19 crimes and mistakes? Florida Bulldog couldn’t find out because their names are kept as confidential as their deliberations. Even the grand jury foreman who signs public reports is unidentified because their signature is an illegible scrawl and their name isn’t printed.

GEORGIA IDENTIFIES GRAND JURORS

The Florida statute that governs statewide grand juries says nothing about jurors’ names. But a 1995 opinion by then-Attorney General Bob Butterworth says the names are exempt from public records law because grand jury proceedings are confidential and the names are part of those proceedings.

Media lawyers haven’t challenged Butterworth’s informal opinion, probably based on predictions that judges would adopt the opinion and make it binding precedent.

The issue of whether grand jurors’ names should be revealed in the interest of transparency came up last year in the Georgia election interference case against former president Donald Trump and 14 others.

The Fulton County special purpose grand jury issued a final report that was mostly sealed. But since Georgia doesn’t keep jurors’ names confidential, they were released, raising concerns about doxxing and the jurors’ safety.

“Georgia needs to fix this practice yesterday,” former FBI official Chuck Rosenberg told the Washington Post. “I am all for transparency, but not when it puts citizens at risk.”

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Comments

4 responses to “Anonymous Statewide Grand Jury targets Fauci, public health officials for causing overdoses during COVID-19 pandemic”

  1. MAGA gnashes its teeth and rends its clothing about the Biden DOJ’s “political prosecution” of Trump in a state case the DOJ had nothing to do with, but they’ll keep telling that lie because it’s their nature. But this disgrace, this moves forward without a peep from them. It’s a MAGA-brand effort, in fact. It’s another effort, just like the appointment of circus clown Joe Ladapo atop Florida’s once credible multi billion dollar investment in public health, to cover up and create excuses and rationales for DeSantis’s strictly self-interested political decision to throw 100,000 Floridian lives and more into the fire for the sake of his presidential ambitions. And the fact that the Florida Supreme Court enabled this is beyond forgiveness.

  2. John Askins Avatar

    Being critical of the tyrant Fauci is “political”, but you fawning all over him isn’t?

    Governor DeSantis was 100% correct in opening up schools when other states were not. Go back and look at young children wearing masks in the school rooms. Masks that Fauci now admits didn’t work, but he knew it at the time. Of course, he didn’t bother to wear one while sitting next to two people at a baseball game. And they weren’t 6 feet apart; another Fauci made-up lie to supposedly protect people. It certainly wasn’t “science”.

    It was criminal, in my opinion, how untold thousands were fired from their jobs after refusing to be vaccinated. But Biden and others were spreading the word at the time that if you got vaccinated, others could not get COVID. Another lie.

    And it is undeniable that Fauci funded experiments on beagles that resulted in them being tortured.

    He may be your “hero,” but not mine. He’s just another sanctimonious hypocrite to me.

  3. MJ McElrath Avatar

    The level of projection that some MAGA cultists indulge in is astounding.

    They are currently trying to weaponize the Justice Department against Hunter Biden.

    Plus, it was Trump who told the country to stay six feet apart but they conveniently forget that fact.

    And vilifying mask use? Are you mentally challenged, MAGATs? You’re loud but not nearly as numerous as you think.

    History will shit on your memory, as it should.

  4. I see that MTG is in the comments section spouting her traitorous anti-vaxx, Fauci-hating lies. Of course, EmptyG fails to mention that without animal experimentation, modern medicine would not exist or make advances. Margarine Traitor Grease also doesn’t like it that anti-vaxx fools weren’t allowed to endanger our lives. It’s sad when servants of Putin are able to spread their seditious lies in comments sections.

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