What Are Your Rights? Legal Ramifications of Known Disease Exposure
Recorded on October 7, 2020.
With the election just around the corner, President Trump and his campaign were faced with another issue: The President tested positive for the coronavirus. Questions have been raised about when the President knew he had been exposed to the virus, whether his actions lead to others being exposed, and what, if any, legal ramifications that might carry. Managing partner Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP discusses the issue on CBS6.
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Man: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
Interviewer: With the presidential election around the corner, President Trump and his campaign are now dealing with another issue, the President has tested positive for the coronavirus. Questions have been raised about when the President knew he had been exposed to the virus and whether his actions lead to others being exposed to the virus and what, if any, legal ramifications that might carry. Here to help discuss this issue is managing partner Paul Harding from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Paul, welcome.
Paul: Good to be here.
Interviewer: Thanks for being here with us. So, obviously, a hot topic right now, generally speaking, though, is there any sort of recourse for knowingly exposing someone to infection or disease in New York?
Paul: So New York, in fact, does have a statute right on point, it came about back in the day when the HIV was a sort of unknown unpredictable disease, and therefore, if you knowingly expose someone to that, there is a criminal penalty.
Interviewer: Now does this apply to the coronavirus?
Paul: It does not. And there’s some statutory work being done down at Albany trying to figure out, “Hey, can we make this a law?” And they’re really struggling with it, I don’t think they’re gonna come up with something. I don’t think they’re gonna add it to the list. It’d be one of those laws that I think would not pass constitutional scrutiny because it would be vague, it would be difficult to prove where someone got the virus.
Interviewer: Now do you foresee President Trump facing any sort of legal repercussions for holding a campaign event if he knew that he had been exposed to the virus?
Paul: Yeah, big if there. So we know that he knew or probably knew that he was exposed to someone who had the virus but we don’t think that he knew that he in fact had the virus but let’s assume that he did. You’re in a situation where the President has a tremendous amount of immunity, not only to criminal prosecution but to civil liability.
So do I think anything’s gonna come out of this? I don’t, I think it’s gonna be one of these things talked about, hopefully, continue to be responsible, maybe more responsible as these things take place but I think the President is in a pretty safe position from any criminal or civil penalties.
Interviewer: All right. Paul, thanks so much for weighing in. We, of course, appreciate your time. And you can find all of our ‘What Are Your Rights?’ topics on our website, cbs6albany.com.