Covid-19 Ruse Alleged in Riverhead Trial Delay

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A Manhattan couple has been accused of falsifying a coronavirus diagnosis in order to delay the husband’s trial at Suffolk County criminal court in Riverhead.

Devon Lewis, 35, and his 36-year-old wife Blair McDermott pleaded not guilty to felony charges of forgery, offering a false instrument for filing, and misdemeanor counts of criminal contempt. 

“It is reprehensible that someone would claim to have this deadly virus, which has taken so much from so many people, to try to avoid the consequences of their own criminal actions,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said. 

The trail began in September against Lewis, who was arrested for the sale and possession of cocaine and heroin in 2019, but before closing arguments were heard, he gave the court a photo of a document claiming that McDermott tested positive for Covid-19, prompting the trial to be suspended until she tested negative, prosecutors said. 

The trial resumed on Nov. 12. Lewis was convicted the next day and ordered held without bail. An investigation later revealed that the couple allegedly altered the document with McDermott’s initial test results, which were in fact negative, authorities said. During the time the couple was said to be quarantining at home, they instead traveled to hotels and casinos in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, according to investigators. 

Lewis’ Westhampton Beach-based attorney Keith O’Halloran maintained his client’s innocence. McDermott’s attorney could not be reached for comment. She was released without bail.

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