ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - The FBI is investigating whether Governor Cuomo and his senior aides provided false information about nursing home deaths from COVID to the Justice Department, the New York Times reported Friday.
The Cuomo administration is under fire for undercounting the number of nursing home deaths from COVID. Critics say it was done to cover up a failed policy of making nursing homes take COVID positive patients, allowing the virus to spread in New York’s nursing homes and killing residents who would not otherwise have died.
FBI agents have contacted lawyers for Cuomo’s aides and have interviewed senior officials with the state Department of Health, the Times reported.
The interviews included questions about data the Cuomo administration submitted to the Justice Department last year on COVID nursing home deaths. False statements to the Justice Department could be a crime, the newspaper notes.
A lawyer representing the governor’s office told the Times the information provided to the Justice Department was “truthful and accurate and any suggestion otherwise is demonstrably false.”
Cuomo and aides have denied both undercounting the deaths - they claim they simply counted them differently - and that Cuomo’s policy of making nursing homes take COVID patients contributed to a spike in nursing home deaths.
The have said COVID was spread in nursing homes by employees who didn’t know they were sick.
After a report earlier this year by state Attorney General Letitia James which concluded the Cuomo administration had undercounted nursing home deaths by as much as 50 percent, the Cuomo administration revised the number of deaths from fewer than 9,000 to more than 13,000.
Word of the FBI investigation adds to Cuomo’s rapidly mounting pile of troubles - seven women have accused him of either sexual harassment or making unwanted sexual advances; the state Attorney General and the Assembly have both launched their own investigations into the sexual harassment claims; a significant number of state and federal legislators from New York have called on Cuomo to resign.