The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is said to be investigating whether aides to embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) gave false data regarding the number of deaths in the state’s nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
The New York Times reported Friday:
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation have contacted lawyers for Mr. Cuomo’s aides, interviewed senior officials from the state Health Department and subpoenaed Mr. Cuomo’s office for documents related to the disclosure of data last year, the people said. […]
Aides to the governor said they had not revealed data on residents who died in hospitals because the information was incomplete and needed to be vetted. The state revealed the full count — which added thousands of additional deaths — only in January, after a report by the state attorney general suggested an undercount, and after a state court ordered the data be made public in response to a lawsuit filed by the Empire Center, a conservative think tank. […]
Melissa DeRosa, Mr. Cuomo’s top aide, tried to explain why the administration had withheld the data last year to state lawmakers in a conference call, saying she and others “froze” because of the federal request for data, which came in late August as the governor faced criticism over nursing homes. But more than two months earlier, in June, Ms. DeRosa and other aides removed such data from a report prepared by the Health Department, an investigation by The New York Times found.
“He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes,” DeRosa reportedly said of then-President Donald Trump, whose Department of Justice requests nursing home data from the Cuomo administration. “He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer.”
DeRosa also claimed that Trump “directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.”
“And basically, we froze,” she conceded to lawmakers.
DeRosa’s call with lawmakers was first reported by the New York Post.
The Times’ report builds on reporting by the Albany-based Times Union, which first revealed that both the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn had launched an investigation to examine the Cuomo coronavirus task force’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.
As the nursing home probe continues to advance, Cuomo faces growing calls to resign due to multiple allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted touches brought forth by multiple former female aides. Top Democrats, such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), have said Cuomo should step aside as New York Attorney General Letitia James’ independent investigation looks into the allegations.
“Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York,” Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) recently said in a joint statement. “Governor Cuomo should resign.”
Cuomo has resisted calls to resign, calling such statements “reckless and dangerous.”
“I never harassed anyone, I never assaulted anyone, I never abused anyone,” governor told reporters during a press conference earlier this month.
“If the investigation confirms the claims of the women, should he resign?” Stephanopoulos asked Biden.
“Yes,” the president responded. “I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”