AG Knudsen’s office did not intimidate hospital officials


HELENA – Republican Attorney General Austin Knudsen and his office did not attempt to threaten or intimidate Helena Hospital officials or healthcare providers when inquiring about COVID-19 care a patient last month, according to a report released Monday night by the Republican Legislature.

However, the report identified a “third public official” who contacted the hospital on behalf of the patient as the state’s civil service commissioner, Jennifer Fielder. He said Fielder, a former state senator, argued that the patient should be allowed to have alternative treatments to ivermectin and hydroxycholoroquine, and that “if that doesn’t go well,” there could be a trial.

The patient, who had worked for the state Senate in the past, later died of complications from COVID-19.

The report, prepared by a “special advocate” appointed by the GOP leadership, described actions taken by Knudsen, a highway patrol officer and Deputy Attorney General Kris Hansen in early October, in response to complaints from the patient’s family that he was being taken. refused certain medications and communication with his family.

Minority Democrats called for the investigation on October 21, after press reports and a statement from Saint-Pierre Hospital that its health care providers had been “harassed and threatened by three public officials.”

Knudsen and Hansen said they were two of the officials who spoke to hospital staff, but denied threatening anyone.

Also on Monday evening, Republican legislative leaders said the report produced no evidence that Knudsen had harassed anyone, that he had not spoken directly to any health care provider, and that the CEO of St. Peter’s had said he did not feel threatened during his October 13 conversation with Knudsen. and called his discussion “cordial”.

“The deceptive and outright bogus political attacks on the Montana attorney general by Democrats and members of the media must end,” GOP leaders said in a statement.

They pointed to a number of newspaper and website editorials that had criticized Knudsen and his office for allegedly trying to force medical staff to give the patient certain drugs or to use the highway patrol as a “private police force.” .

The report states that the highway patrol officer sent to the hospital on October 12 never entered the hospital or spoke with medical staff, and only took information from the family of the patient, in the hospital parking lot.

Democratic leaders said they plan to hold a press conference on Tuesday morning to respond to the report.

The investigation and report were produced by Abra Belke, an attorney who worked for Legislative Republicans during the 2021 Legislature and was subsequently appointed “Special Advisor” to the Legislature, a new post created this year by Republicans. with broad powers to investigate government officials and agencies.

Read the full report:


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