“The FBI and Brooklyn federal prosecutors are circling closer to Gov. Andrew Cuomo”
The FBI and Brooklyn federal prosecutors are reportedly getting closer to New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s inner circle as they probe a possible cover-up of Wuhan coronavirus nursing home death data.
The FBI and Brooklyn federal prosecutors are circling closer to Gov. Andrew Cuomo as they probe if he and his administration provided false data to minimize nursing home resident deaths from COVID-19, sources told The Post Friday night.
Investigators have contacted lawyers for Cuomo’s aides, interviewed senior state Health Department officials and subpoenaed the governor’s office for documents relating to the alleged data coverup, the sources said.
. . . . Health officials are being grilled about nursing home-related COVID-19 case and death data the state submitted last year to the Justice Department, sources told The Post.
The probe, which is being overseen by the Eastern District of New York, opened with interviews of senior members of Cuomo’s coronavirus task force but now is looking at Cuomo and his most senior aides as well.
The state Health Department’s July report to the Justice Department had listed only the nursing home residents who died from the virus while still in their nursing home beds — minimizing the death toll by excluding those who died after being taken to hospitals.
His administration waited eight more months before coughing up the true totals; as The Post exclusively reported last month, top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa was caught on tape admitting the book-cooking to prevent then-president Donald Trump “turn[ing] this into a giant political football.”
A federal investigation into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic has focused in recent weeks on whether the governor and his senior aides provided false data on resident deaths to the Justice Department, according to four people with knowledge of the investigation.
. . . . 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.
A chart included in an early draft of the report, which was reviewed by The Times, showed that the number of total deaths of nursing home residents would have been roughly 9,200 at the time, or 50 percent higher than what Mr. Cuomo’s administration had publicly acknowledged.
The governor’s aides have denied altering the report to withhold the data, arguing that they did not release the figures until they could be properly audited.
The feds are also looking into legal protections New York provided to hospitals and nursing homes that “made it difficult for families of residents who died or were infected by the coronavirus to sue nursing home operators or hospitals.”
The New York Times continues:
Federal investigators also started questioning state officials this month about a provision in last year’s state budget that gave legal protections to hospitals and nursing homes during the pandemic, one of the people said. Investigators’ questions about the nursing home provision were first reported by The City, a local nonprofit newsroom.
The change made it difficult for families of residents who died or were infected by the coronavirus to sue nursing home operators or hospitals. The provision had been lobbied for by industry representatives.
Richard Azzopardi, a senior aide to Mr. Cuomo, said similar legislation had passed in many other states and that New York’s measure “was passed by 111 members of the Legislature.” He said the legal protections were needed to recruit out-of-state health care workers to help during the height of the surge last spring.
How many of those states had governors that ordered thousands of nursing home residents with COVID back into nursing homes might be a relevant point.DONATE
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