U.S. lawmakers are calling on the Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for allegedly committing obstruction of justice by intentionally hiding the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths from a federal probe.
The letter comes after a top aide to Governor Cuomo admitted that the Cuomo administration paused the release of data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths because Cuomo worried it could be “used against us” by the Department of Justice in a leaked recording obtained by The New York Post.
“We request the Department of Justice (DOJ) immediately open an obstruction of justice investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration,” the letter began. “It is now being reported that the Cuomo administration has admitted to knowingly withholding information on New York State’s nursing home deaths out of fear it would be used against them as part of a federal investigation. This intentional and unconscionable coverup impacting thousands of our most vulnerable residents cannot go without consequences.”
“For months, family members, news outlets, and lawmakers alike have been calling on the Cuomo administration to report information regarding the number of nursing home residents who died of COVID-19, including those who died in a nursing home facility or after being transferred to another location,” the letter continued. “On March 25, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order mandating that ‘[n]o resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,’ and prohibited nursing homes from requiring medically stable hospitalized residents to be tested for COVID-19 prior to their admission or readmission. In May 2020, only after intense backlash and unnecessary suffering, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) reversed its policy.”
“It is now being reported that Secretary to the Governor, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to a group of Democrat state legislators that the Governor’s office withheld this information from the federal government out of fear that it would ‘be used against us’ by the DOJ. Even more concerning, DeRosa also reportedly said that the DOJ was no longer focused on New York’s nursing homes,” the letter concluded. “We request your department immediately open an obstruction of justice investigation into Governor Cuomo and his administration. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your response.”