Probe: Muzzle Sent to Vaccine Official Is Traced Back to Her

But Michelle Fiscus denies being involved in purchase
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2021 1:58 AM CDT
Updated Aug 17, 2021 6:34 AM CDT
Muzzle Sent to Fired Vaccine Official Was Paid for by Her, Probe Says
Vaccine advocates sit in on a state legislative committee meeting, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn.   (AP Photo/John Amis)

The former top vaccination official in Tennessee, who says she was fired because Republican state lawmakers didn't like her vaccine outreach to teens, also said she was mailed a dog muzzle by someone who wanted to threaten her, shortly before her firing. But an investigation by the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security finds Michelle Fiscus actually purchased the muzzle herself, Axios reports. The probe traced the Amazon purchase back to a credit card in her name, though the Amazon account that was used was a different one than the account in her name that she provided to investigators, the department says. Purchases from both Amazon accounts used the same credit card, the report says.

"Regarding the muzzle: I ASKED Homeland Security to investigate the origin," Fiscus tweeted after the report came out. "No, I didn't send it to myself." She went on to say she had no idea the second Amazon account existed; it used an incorrect billing address (her state work office, where the muzzle was sent); and someone reportedly accessed the account "from the State of Washington, where I had never been, by a cell phone using a carrier I have never used." In a statement, she says it appears someone used a temporary phone to set up the account in her name, but she did not address the use of her credit card on the account. The Amazon account was established in March, USA Today reports. Fiscus was fired in July. (More Tennessee stories.)

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