Judge drops virus related case against US surgeon general
HONOLULU (AP) — A judge in Honolulu dismissed charges Wednesday against U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams after he was cited for allegedly violating local coronavirus restrictions while in Hawaii to help with COVID-19 surge testing efforts.
Honolulu prosecutors submitted a motion Tuesday to dismiss charges against Adams after he was charged with being in a closed park during Hawaii’s summertime spike in coronavirus cases.
Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm said in a statement that the motion was submitted to the court to dismiss charges against Adams and his aide, Dennis Anderson-Villaluz, for allegedly violating an emergency COVID-19 order in August.
“After a careful review of the facts and law in this case, I have determined that further prosecution of this matter would not achieve that goal,” Alm said in the statement. “This office’s resources are better spent prosecuting other offenses, including serious violations of the Mayor’s emergency orders that pose a real threat to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Judge Rowena Somerville filed the dismissal Wednesday after reviewing the motion.
Adams was allegedly discovered by an officer in Oahu’s Kualoa Regional Park taking photos at a time that all beach parks were closed to prevent large gatherings and curb the spread of coronavirus.
Adams was granted a government exemption from requirements that travelers to Hawaii quarantine for 14 days because he was helping the state, his attorney, Michael Green, said.
Green spoke to Adams after the motion to dismiss was submitted Tuesday. “He was thrilled,” Green said.
Violating emergency orders is punishable as a misdemeanor. If found guilty, people face fines of up to $5,000, up to a year in jail, or both.