Federal prosecutors have recently subpoenaed material related to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Book “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic.” They state that the memoir has signaled interest in the numerous nursing home issues and that the subpoenas were also sent to state officials who were involved in editing early drafts of his $5.1 million pandemic-related book.
Federal investigators have been looking into nursing home numbers since Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa admitted that their administration “froze” when the Department of Justice requested information related to it. This will involve potential violations of federal law, including the False Claims Act, and looking into drafts of state laws that granted civil and criminal immunity to nursing home facilities.
Last March, Cuomo signed an executive order and forced nursing homes to accept more than 9,000 positive coronavirus patients who’d been discharged from the hospital, which some people blamed as the reason why so many elderly New Yorkers passed. The number of positive coronavirus patients was 40% higher than the publicly disclosed report by the state department. The criminal investigation includes data on when and where long-term-care residents died during the pandemic.
Cuomo even signed an executive order that would shield the nursing homes from liability when admitting COVID-19 patients, which was linked to more than 1,000 resident deaths.
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“Statewide, the findings imply that COVID-positive new admissions between late March and early May, which numbered 6,327, were associated with several hundred and possibly more than 1,000 additional resident deaths. More than 15,500 nursing home residents who contracted the disease had died as of this spring,” the report read.
State Attorney General Letitia James started an investigation into Cuomo’s use of state resources while working on the book. The reports state that he used campaign funds for personal use and inquired staff members on the taxpayer’s dime to help draft, edit, sell, and promote his book. He was even accused of giving state health officials special COVID-19 testing access to staff members in his inner circle.
While Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing and insisted that staff members have volunteered to help with the book, prosecutors working for the U.S Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York have collected all communications related to the governor’s written work. They are also seeking contracts and materials related to the pitching of the book and the reports that his administration had judged in fear of blowback from former President Donald Trump.
“The materials in pitching the book are seen as important to investigators because of captured information in real-time. If reflections memorialized in records and notes are inconsistent with what he was saying publicly or with disclosures to health or government officials, that is potentially problematic,” said former federal prosecutor Michael Weinstein.
While a New York Health Department report from last July claimed that Cuomo’s report was not a “significant factor in nursing home fatalities,” his administration has denied the data release to the public.
Gov. Cuomo mandated long-term-care facilities to accept infected patients despite widespread warnings from scientific experts not to, but he has that much hate for Trump. If anything, this just proves that crime can pay.
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