New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is again in the eye of the storm for the coronavirus crisis management. State lawmakers have threatened to deprive him of the power to issue emergency orders, and federal agents (FBI) are investigating his administration’s handling of data on nursing home deaths.
The United States Department of Justice looked into the governor’s coronavirus task force and tried to determine whether the state intentionally manipulated data related to nursing home deaths, the Associated Press reported. According to reports, the Cuomo administration would not collaborate with prosecutors, especially in the early stages of the investigation, and for months it would not produce the documents and other data requested by the Department of Justic.
The investigation began months ago in the Civil Division of the Justice Department and has returned to the spotlight in recent weeks after revelations that the Cuomo administration had provided the public and state lawmakers with an incomplete account of the number of deaths in the homes of care and assisted living facilities. In recent weeks, 15,000 deaths have been reported, compared to 8,500 previously reported.
A close adviser of him, Melissa de Rosa, had admitted, during a meeting on Zoom with the leaders of the local party, that she had halved the official number of deaths in retirement homes to avoid attacks by former President Donald Trump. The Democrats themselves, supported by the Republicans, have asked Cuomo to take away the special powers on the management of the health emergency. Now the governor is also accused of threatening political reprisals against members of his party who criticized him and who would not defend him enough from the scandal. “I can destroy you,” Cuomo allegedly told a Democratic deputy in the state assembly, Ron Kim, over a heated phone call. The governor, Kim himself told CNN, called him threatening to cut off his career if he did not keep quiet about the revelations made by Melissa DeRosa.
Meanwhile, in the State Senate, Democratic leaders, including majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, are preparing to vote in the coming days on a proposal that would require the governor to consult with lawmakers before issuing emergency orders, used for example. last spring by the governor for public meetings, shut down businesses and schools, and then unilaterally loosen restrictions. But the specter that worries Cuomo most is that of possible impeachment, with the request for an indictment that is mounting day by day.
These aren’t the only problems with justice for the New York governor. Cuomo had previously been accused of sexual harassment by a former employee of his, Lindsey Boylan. In a series of tweets, the woman accused the Governor of harassing her for years when the latter worked alongside her as deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser between 2015 and 2018.