The pressure continues to mount for Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo amid reports that his administration downplayed the COVID-19 death toll among the state’s nursing home patients.
According to recent reports, the federal government has launched an investigation of the governor’s office following the revelation that it underreported the true number of deaths that the state had experienced during the ongoing public health crisis.
“Looking into this for months”
As CBS News noted, the probe is currently being conducted by the FBI in conjunction with federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.
A top Cuomo adviser, Richard Azzopardi, claimed that the Justice Department “has been looking into this for months,” asserting that the governor has been “cooperating with them and will continue to.”
News of the investigation represents just the latest development in a complex narrative that took on added weight last month with the release of a report from New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Her office’s research found that the Cuomo administration had underreported nursing home deaths by as much as 50%.
That report was followed by a New York Post article detailing a Cuomo aide’s admission to state lawmakers that the governor’s office effectively covered up the true extent of the situation.
“They never formally opened an investigation”
“Basically, we froze because then we were in a position where 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,” Melissa DeRosa said.
In that telephone conversation, however, she seemed to dismiss the notion that the federal government still had an interest in investigating the scandal.
“All signs point to they are not looking at this, they’ve dropped it,” DeRosa said. “They never formally opened an investigation. They sent a letter asking a number of questions and then we satisfied those questions and it appears that they’re gone.”
The governor is also facing political backlash in the form of mounting calls for his impeachment. According to the Daily Caller, Republican state Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor is leading one such effort, and even some New York Democrats are arguing for Cuomo to be stripped of his emergency powers.
For his part, Cuomo has maintained that he engaged in no illegal activity but acknowledged that it was wrong to withhold information because it allowed “skepticism and cynicism and conspiracy theories which furthered confusion,” according to The New York Times.