The Times Union learned that the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn have begun investigating Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration over the COVID-19 nursing home deaths.

Background

In March 2020, Cuomo forced nursing homes to readmit COVID-19 positive patients.

It didn’t take long for people to realize that was a bad idea. They knew there was a connection between the high numbers of deaths and the order.

So many people, especially Janice Dean, screamed this from the top of the mountains. No one listened.

But Cuomo’s political life took a massive dip in January when the New York attorney general report stated that his policies might have killed more grandmas than everyone thought.

Attorney General Letitia James “cited the admission mandate as a potential cause of excess deaths.”

Then Cuomo hit rock bottom when The New York Post reported that his secretary Melissa DeRosa “apologized to Democratic lawmakers for withholding the state’s nursing-home death toll from COVID-19.”

DeRosa said the administration “froze” because they feared the DOJ would use the numbers against them.

Cuomo played the victim and deflected blame to others.

But the Democratic lawmakers did not let him off the hook. They demanded an investigation and wanted to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers.

Cuomo refused to apologize and insisted others brought COVID-19 into the nursing homes, not the COVID-19 positive patients.

Then he warned his colleagues not to threaten him with a subpoena or investigation. He tried to scare them into thinking it is a crime to do this because apparently, he is invincible.

Think that is bad? Look at Assemblyman Ron Kim, who lost his uncle to COVID-19 in a nursing home.

Kim claimed that Cuomo threatened him over the phone:

“At first, there was a silence on the phone,” Kim said. “Then the governor says, `Mr. Kim, are you an honorable man?”

Kim — who said he was “in the middle of bathing my kids” — said Cuomo asked him to draft a statement “to say that Melissa de Rosa said there was a federal investigation and they had to deal with that first.”

During the conversation, Kim said, Cuomo warned him, “You have not seen my wrath. I have been biting my tongue for months.”

“I can tell the whole world what a bad person you are and you will be finished,” Kim recalled Cuomo saying.

“You will be destroyed.”

Cuomo kept his word. He told wild stories about Kim during a press conference on Wednesday without offering any proof of the allegations.

Yeah, Wednesday didn’t get better for Cuomo.

Federal Investigation

From The Times Union:

The probe by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York is apparently in its early stages and is focusing on the work of some of the senior members of the governor’s task force, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter who is not authorized to comment publicly.

Last March, as the virus began spreading in New York, Cuomo issued a news release listing the 13 initial members of his coronavirus task force, which has been headed by Linda Lacewell, an attorney and former chief of staff for Cuomo. Lacewell is the superintendent of the state Department of Financial Services. Other task force members include state health Commissioner Howard Zucker, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and Beth Garvey, counsel to the governor.

“As we publicly said, DOJ (Department of Justice) has been looking into this for months,” said Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor. “We have been cooperating with them and we will continue to.”

The Brooklyn office’s spokesman John Marzulli told The Times Union “he could not ‘confirm or deny’ whether the office has initiated an investigation.”

On Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked President Joe Biden “to retain New York’s public corruption prosecutor” because he thinks the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York cannot carry out this investigation.

The acting U.S. attorney is Audrey Strauss, the mother-in-law of DeRosa.

Grassley urged Biden to choose Antoinette Bacon, acting U.S. attorney in the Northern District, to take over the investigation:

The obvious alternative is Antoinette “Toni” Bacon, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York, who previously served as Justice Department’s national elder justice coordinator and who currently has jurisdiction over federal public corruption crimes in the state. However, President Biden’s plan could remove Bacon from office at the end of the month.

“[Ms. Bacon] is the obvious choice to continue a fair and unbiased investigation into possible violations of civil liberties of the elderly and the public corruption which may have occurred in this case. Yet it may be your intention to require Ms. Bacon to leave as soon as the end of the month. Replacing Ms. Bacon at this time would send a terrible message about the independence of the Department of Justice,” Grassley wrote.

Grassley might not get his wish. The Times Union wrote that the probe “apparently does not involve the Northern District.”

The publication noted that this is not the first time the Brooklyn office investigated in the Northern District:

The recent probe by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn is not the first time that New York City-based federal prosecutors have launched investigations in New York’s Northern District, which stretches from Kingston to the Canadian border with headquarters in Albany and Syracuse. A sprawling fraud and bribery case involving top Cuomo aides in Albany was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan; the prosecution of NXIVM co-founder Keith Raniere and other top members of his organization was handled by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

 

 
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