Cuomo faces rising scrutiny over COVID-19 nursing home deaths

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is facing mounting scrutiny over his handling of COVID-19 nursing home deaths after revelations that a top aide said officials “froze” information about the deaths after questions from the Department of Justice (DOJ) last year.

The remarks have set off a renewed firestorm over Cuomo’s handling of the deaths and whether his administration sought to cover up details. They also undermine the star profile the governor developed on the national level at the start of the pandemic as he gave signature daily press conferences and sparred with then-President Trump.

The Cuomo aide, Melissa DeRosa, said on a conference call with state legislators that the freeze of provided information came “because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice or what we give to you guys, what we start saying was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.”

The comments were first reported by The New York Post Thursday night and later confirmed by the governor’s office, which released a partial transcript of the remarks as well as a statement from DeRosa.

“I was explaining that when we received the DOJ inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the federal request first,” she said in the statement.