A conflict of interest could arise from Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa’s family ties if the Justice Department investigates New York’s alleged cover-up of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.
DeRosa, secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and the official at the center of the cover-up controversy, is the daughter-in-law of Audrey Strauss, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District, the New York Post reported Saturday.
The clamor demanding an investigation into the thousands of allegedly covered up deaths intensified after DeRosa admitted Cuomo’s administration withheld the data from state lawmakers this summer over concerns that federal prosecutors would use the data against them.
“We weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice or what we give to you guys and what we start saying was going to be used against us, and we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” DeRosa told state lawmakers on a conference call Wednesday.
The Justice Department began looking into nursing home deaths in New York and other states in late August.
Among those calling for a federal investigation include former New York Gov. George Pataki (R), New York’s Republican congressional delegation, and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
Even Democrats are fuming over the situation, seeking to strip Cuomo of his emergency coronavirus powers.
Strauss became Manhattan’s top prosecutor after former President Donald Trump said in June 2020 that he was firing Geoffrey Berman. Berman agreed to step down, so long as Strauss, his deputy, could take his place.
While the case could be handled by the Southern District, which prosecutes many high-profile crimes, it could also be handled in the Northern District, which includes Albany.