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People spreading coronavirus could face terror charges for ‘purposeful exposure and infection’: DOJ

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People who deliberately spread coronavirus could face federal terrorism charges for “purposeful exposure and infection,” according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) memo.

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen sent the memo, which was obtained by Politico, to department leaders, law enforcement agency chiefs and U.S. attorneys on Tuesday.

“Because Coronavirus appears to meet the statutory definition of a ‘biological agent’… such acts potentially could implicate the Nation’s terrorism-related statutes,” Rosen wrote.

“Threats or attempts to use COVID-19 as a weapon against Americans will not be tolerated,” he added.

It is reportedly unclear if intentional exposures or threats had been reported.

The DOJ also created a task force to combat hoarding and price gouging of the supplies, including masks, needed to fight the virus, Politico reported.

Attorney General William Barr announced Monday that hoarders and price gougers would face prosecution. 

But Barr and Rosen said in memos on Tuesday that the Department of Health and Human Services has not yet specified the health-related products that would be covered, the news outlet noted. 

U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito is reportedly overseeing the task force, which involves a person from each U.S. attorney’s office and other department units.

Hina Shamsi, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, condemned the announcement calling it a “counterproductive and harmful message.” 

“Rather than heeding public health experts’ advice to promote public trust in science and reduce prison populations, the Justice Department is threatening to use vague, overbroad, and flawed coercive powers that will make people more afraid to seek care,” Shamsi said in a statement

A New Jersey man, who allegedly coughed on a Wegmans worker and said he had coronavirus, was charged with terroristic threats Tuesday in the state. 
Updated 11:09 a.m. 
Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Department of Justice hoarding Justice Department Price gouging Prosecution terror charges

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