New York Assemblyman Michael Montesano (R) will request for the state’s legislature to consider impeaching Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) after a top aide for the governor reportedly admitted to withholding data on coronavirus nursing home deaths to avoid a federal investigation.
“We’ve been calling for subpoenas and a hearing for quite a while,” Montesano said in an interview with Fox News. “This news of the last several days is extremely troubling to me and I’m going to be asking today for his resignation and I’m also going to be asking the legislature to look into, to explore filing articles of impeachment against the governor if he doesn’t resign.”
The New York Post first reported Thursday that Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, revealed in a call with Democrat lawmakers that Cuomo officials did not publish data on the coronavirus death toll in nursing homes due to fears that the figures were “going to be used against us” by federal prosecutors.
“Basically, we froze,” DeRosa said, claiming that then-President Donald Trump directed the “Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.”
Montesano, who serves on New York state’s Oversight and Investigations Committee, told Fox News that the Cuomo scandal has now turned “criminal.”
“The governor wants to talk about how our attacks on him are political,” the lawmaker added. “They’re not political, this we’ve had an inkling all the while that they were covering stuff up, and now she admitted that she covered stuff up because she knew the Department of Justice has an active investigation going on of the nursing home problems which a lot of us in the legislature, especially in the minority, requested that they do.”
More than 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients in New York state were released from hospitals into nursing homes early in the pandemic under a controversial directive that was scrapped amid criticism it accelerated outbreaks, according to new records obtained by The Associated Press.
The new number of 9,056 recovering patients sent to hundreds of nursing homes is more than 40% higher than what the state health department previously released. And it raises new questions as to whether a March 25 directive from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration helped spread sickness and death among residents, a charge the state disputes.
“The lack of transparency and the meting out of bits of important data has undermined our ability to both recognize the scope and severity of what’s going on” and address it, said Richard Mollot, the executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a residents advocacy group.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.