Gov. Cuomo's nursing home deaths cover-up could become a federal level criminal investigation, legal experts say

 Experts have warned that New York Gov Andrew Cuomo's nursing home deaths cover-up could lead to federal level criminal offenses.

According to a Wall Street Journal op-ed written by John B. Daukas, who served as acting US attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, 'numerous federal criminal statutes could apply'.

Daukas then pointed to Melissa DeRosa, the secretary to the governor who unleashed a political firestorm last week when she admitted to state Democrats that the administration had deliberately hid data on the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.


DeRosa tried to blame former president Donald Trump and said he would turn the deaths 'into a giant political football'. 

'Ms. DeRosa’s reported admissions indicate the Cuomo administration’s conduct wasn’t merely negligent, but intentional and perhaps criminal,' Daukas wrote.  

Experts have warned that New York Gov Andrew Cuomo's nursing home deaths cover-up could lead to federal level criminal offenses

Experts have warned that New York Gov Andrew Cuomo's nursing home deaths cover-up could lead to federal level criminal offenses

'Ms. DeRosa’s (left) admissions indicate the Cuomo administration’s conduct wasn’t merely negligent, but intentional and perhaps criminal,' John B. Daukas, who served as acting US attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division

'Ms. DeRosa’s (left) admissions indicate the Cuomo administration’s conduct wasn’t merely negligent, but intentional and perhaps criminal,' John B. Daukas, who served as acting US attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division

He continued: 'It’s a crime to make false statements to the federal government. It’s also a crime to conceal information and otherwise obstruct government investigations. 

'New York may have engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and its agencies and possibly obstruct justice, among other crimes.'

Daukas added that 'even if it cannot be proved that the Cuomo administration knowingly provided false information to Justice and the (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), New York’s willful failure to provide information may itself constitute a criminal offense—particularly if the intent was to thwart a federal investigation—which, after all, is exactly what Ms. DeRosa reportedly said the administration did'. 


In addition to Daukas' viewpoints, Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett said DeRosa’s claims constitute a potential obstruction of justice charge. 

Jarrett said that per the federal statute, if a government official falsifies or hides evidence to avoid triggering an investigation that official is still culpable under the law of obstruction.

While the coronavirus may have first landed on US soil on the West Coast, it exploded into public consciousness in March as New York City became the global hotspot. As the epidemic spiraled, Cuomo on March 25 issued a directive barring nursing homes from refusing patients based solely on a COVID-19 diagnosis.

The state's Democratic attorney general chastised the Cuomo administration for minimizing the death toll at nursing homes by excluding certain fatalities from the count. Cuomo's administration revealed at least 15,000 people living in such facilities have died from virus

The state's Democratic attorney general chastised the Cuomo administration for minimizing the death toll at nursing homes by excluding certain fatalities from the count. Cuomo's administration revealed at least 15,000 people living in such facilities have died from virus

Cuomo defended the directive as an effort to prevent catastrophic hospital overcrowding and discrimination against virus patients.

Despite his state's death toll - more than 46,000 people in New York state have died of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University - Cuomo's popularity soared, and some Democrats in the spring and summer favorably contrasted his response with Trump's false optimism, wondering if Cuomo could replace Joe Biden on their ticket or sign on as a vice presidential candidate. 

In October, Cuomo took an early victory lap, releasing a book titled American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

But the nursing home issue exploded onto the political scene with two recent revelations. 

First, the state's Democratic attorney general chastised the Cuomo administration for minimizing the death toll at nursing homes by excluding certain fatalities from the count. 

Cuomo's administration then revealed at least 15,000 people living in long-term care facilities have died of COVID-19, nearly double the number Cuomo had initially disclosed.

The New York Post first reported that DeRosa told lawmakers the Cuomo administration had withheld the numbers for fear of them being 'used against us'. 

A furious Cuomo at a press conference later accused Ron Kim, a Democratic state legislator who spoke to the Post, about corruption.

Kim said Cuomo had called him and threatened to 'destroy' him.

'The nursing homes story really exposed quite a bit about questions about his leadership style and the success of his leadership during COVID,' said Christina Greer, a political science professor at Fordham University. 

'The governor wrote a book touting his accomplishments, and we don't know if we're halfway out of the pandemic.'

Gov. Cuomo's nursing home deaths cover-up could become a federal level criminal investigation, legal experts say Gov. Cuomo's nursing home deaths cover-up could become a federal level criminal investigation, legal experts say Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:10 Rating: 5

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