The Justice Department has said that coronavirus crimes can be charged as acts of terrorism.
But what exactly does that mean?
Rebecca Rose Woodland, litigator and legal analyst, weighed in on what you need to know.
Watch the full video above for more.
The Justice Department has said that anyone threatening or attempting to spread the coronavirus could be charged with terrorism. Joining to break down what this means is Rebecca Rose Woodland, litigator and legal analyst. Rebecca, can you explain this new law to me?
So Katherine, this is really interesting. What the justice department did was issue a memo a couple of days ago out to all of the individual attorneys general in the States, noticing that the terrorism laws we have in place already can apply to people who are trying to, or attempting to, or threatening to disseminate the corona virus. So it's really effective because what we're seeing in a lot of grocery stores, first responders, people who are coming out to help the general public get through this crisis are now having a further level of protection. So if someone threatens a police officer or in a grocery store, how we've seen someone coughed all over $35,000 worth of food that people actually need to sustain themselves, then those people can really be faced with very harsh penalties.
We're not talking about a fine, going down to the courthouse and paying a little fine and going home. We're talking about a federal action where you can be considered a terrorist or using terrorist... use of terrorist activities. And the justice department in that memo also started discussing other COVID-related crimes that are just unacceptable and that the justice department is going to really come down hard on anyone who is enacting these crimes. I'm talking about people saying that they have illness related vaccines that they don't. People saying that they have masks in quantity and they take money in payment for these masks and never deliver the masks. So many different schemes are coming up and the justice department is saying, "Stop right there. That's not going to happen," because we have to worry about the good of the country and we have to enforce these laws with very heavy prison time and prison sentencing.