Feb 18, 2021 - Health

Report: New York Gov. Cuomo under investigation over nursing home deaths

Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, speaks during a news conference in New York, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 5
New York Gov., Andrew Cuomo during an October news conference in New York City. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration is under investigation by the FBI and U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn over its handling of COVID-19 nursing home deaths, the Albany Times-Union first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: The news comes as N.Y. state lawmakers begin efforts to repeal the Democratic governor's pandemic emergency powers after it was revealed his administration delayed releasing data of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, prompting allegations of a cover-up.

The big picture: The New York Post obtained audio of a Cuomo aide saying a request for the nursing homes data was rejected because it could "be used against us" by federal investigators encouraged by then-President Trump.

  • Cuomo was widely praised for his coronavirus response early in the pandemic, but now the New York State Senate is expected to vote on stripping Cuomo of his emergency powers as early as next week, per the New York Times.
  • New York's Democratic Attorney General Letitia James released a report last month accusing his administration of undercounting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by up to 50%.

Of note: New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D) alleged earlier Wednesday that Cuomo threatened to "destroy" him over comments he made about the nursing home deaths scandal.

What saying: When asked about the investigation, Richard Azzopardi, senior adviser to Cuomo, told Axios: "As we publicly said, the DOJ has been looking into this for months. We have been cooperating with them and we will continue to."

  • Cuomo said last Monday that he took responsibility for his administration's delay in releasing data of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, But he added: "There’s nothing to investigate here."
  • The FBI and Department of Justice did not immediately respond to Axios' requests for comment.

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