- The FBI is investigating whether Cuomo and his aides provided false data on nursing home deaths.
- People familiar with the probe told the NYT that the agency has subpoenaed Cuomo for documents.
- The FBI has been examining Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is trying to find out if New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his advisors provided false numbers on the state’s nursing home deaths during the coronavirus pandemic to the Department of Justice last summer, according to a New York Times report on Friday.
Four people with knowledge of the probe told The Times that federal investigators have subpoenaed Cuomo’s office for documents regarding the data, reached out to lawyers for Cuomo’s aides, and spoken to officials from the state’s Health Department on the matter.
The investigation is part of the FBI’s broader examination of Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes as New York became a COVID-19 hotspot last spring. Cuomo has come under immense scrutiny in recent weeks amid reports that his aides pressured state health officials to undercount the nursing home death toll in a July report.
The DOJ in August requested that a handful of governors, including Cuomo, provide the agency with data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes to see if an investigation is warranted. The demand came in response to Cuomo’s controversial March 25 order, which required nursing homes to admit patients with COVID-19 or patients who were suspected to have tested positive for the virus.
“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations,” then-Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband said at the time. “We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”
An outside lawyer representing Cuomo’s office in the federal investigation, Elkan Abramowitz, pushed back on the allegations. In a statement to The Times, he said that “the submission in response to DOJ’s August request was truthful and accurate and any suggestion otherwise is demonstrably false.”
Submitting false information to the DOJ could be a criminal offense, The Times reported.
Cuomo, once celebrated in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, has faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for his COVID-19 policies concerning nursing homes. The new details on the FBI investigation also comes as Cuomo faces pressure to step down as governor after several women have accused him of sexual harassment. Cuomo has refused to resign.