Democratic Witness In House Coronavirus Hearing Pleaded Guilty In 2019 Sex Abuse Case

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Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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House Democrats have called on former CDC Director Tom Frieden to testify in a hearing on President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus Wednesday, less than a year after he pleaded guilty in a sex abuse case.

Frieden was accused in 2019 of groping a longtime family friend in his New York City apartment in 2017, according to ABC News. Charged with forcible touching, sex abuse and harassment, he ultimately avoided jail time by pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and agreeing not to contact the woman for a year. House Democrats have invited him to testify before Congress regarding the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus Wednesday morning.

Frieden’s case is set to be sealed and dismissed if he is not arrested before June of this year, the anniversary of his guilty plea. (RELATED: ‘Blatant Xenophobia’: Democrats, Critics Fume Over Trump’s Pending Immigration Ban)

House Democrats established a panel to investigate the coronavirus response in mid-April, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi being highly critical of Trump’s job. She and her Democratic colleagues initially called on White House task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci to testify at the hearing, but the Trump administration blocked him from appearing. Democrats chose Frieden to appear instead.

Frieden served as CDC director for the duration of President Barack Obama’s administration, only losing his post when Trump entered office in 2017. (RELATED: Asked Whether China Censored Early Coronavirus Data, Senior WHO Official Said He ‘Didn’t Look’)

He is now the President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a project within the global health organization Vital Strategies. According to its website, the group’s goal is to assist governments in implementing public health programs addressing cardiovascular health, and it has received $225 million in donations from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

Frieden also accepted a senior fellowship position at the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank in early March.