Administration

Judge drops case against former surgeon general over alleged virus restrictions violation

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A judge in Honolulu on Wednesday dismissed charges against Jerome Adams for allegedly violating local coronavirus restrictions, the same day he resigned from his position as surgeon general.

Prosecutors submitted a motion to dismiss the violating an emergency order charge against Adams, who pleaded not guilty in November. 

Adams and his aide, Dennis Anderson-Villaluz, allegedly entered Oahu’s Kualoa Regional Park in August to take photos despite all beach parks being closed to prevent large gatherings and curb the spread of the coronavirus.

An attorney representing Adams said at the time that Adams had misunderstood the law and accidentally violated the mayor’s orders.

“He has not asked for, nor has he received, any special treatment in connection with this citation, and will respond to it appropriately,” Lex Smith said.

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm said on Wednesday that “a prosecutor’s paramount goal is to do justice” and further prosecution of Adams would “not achieve that goal.”

“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,” Alm said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. 

Adams was in Hawaii to assist the state with testing efforts during a summer surge of coronavirus cases. He had been granted a government exemption from requirements that travelers to Hawaii quarantine for 14 days, according to his attorney.

The dismissal of the misdemeanor charge came the same day that Adams offered his resignation.

The surgeon general wrote that the incoming Biden administration requested that he step down ahead of President Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. 

Adams said in a statement that, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he “sought to communicate the rapidly evolving science on this deadly adversary, and arm people with the knowledge and tools they needed to stay safe.” 

“I wasn’t always right- because no one was, and this virus continues to humble all of us- but I was always sincere in my efforts to speak to every day Americans, and address the terrible health inequities this virus exposed,” Adams said. 

Tags coronavirus pandemic covid-19 restrictions Hawaii Jerome Adams jerome adams Joe Biden Surgeons General of the United States

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