The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn are reportedly investigating New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration over the state’s nursing home crisis.
The probe, spearheaded by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York, is currently looking into senior members of the Cuomo coronavirus task force, likely in relation to how they handled nursing home deaths in the state, Albany Times-Union reported. The outlet cited a person familiar with the matter.
A spokesperson for the attorney’s office in Brooklyn, John Marzulli, said they could neither confirm nor deny the existence of the investigation.
Cuomo senior advisor Rich Azzopardi said: “As we publicly said, DOJ has been looking into this for months. We have been cooperating with them and we will continue to.” It is unclear whether Azzopardi was referring to the reported Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s probe.
A move to strip Cuomo of his emergency power: Last week, several Democratic lawmakers floated the idea and the legislature in the state is reportedly ready to see it through in the following weeks. The lawmakers might vote on the measure as soon as next week, according to the New York Times.
If passed, Cuomo will no longer have unilateral power in overrunning existing laws to fight the pandemic. The measure will create a 10-person commission that would monitor such decisions in the future.
How we got here: Cuomo initially caused controversy by introducing a measure that forced nursing homes to accept patients even if they test positive for the coronavirus. The move was an attempt to ensure that there would be enough hospital beds for New Yorkers if the outbreak gets out of control.
Critics believe that this policy resulted in around 6,000 nursing home deaths. The backlash eventually prompted Cuomo to rescind the policy. The state also did not include people who contracted the virus in nursing homes and later died in the hospital in the total nursing home death toll, prompting more questions.
This year, the state attorney said the total number of nursing home deaths might be 50% higher than reported. Shortly after, one of Cuomo’s aides, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, seemingly admitted during a phone call with Democratic lawmakers that the administration hid the real nursing home deaths number out of fear of political backlash.
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Author: Penka Arsova
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