Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to undercount the number of coronavirus nursing home deaths could open him up to criminal charges, according to a former Justice Department official.
The State of New York provided data to the federal government in Sept. 2020 in which it under-counted coronavirus nursing home deaths by as much as one-third. These actions could be considered “a conspiracy to defraud the United States and… obstruct justice,” former Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General John B. Daukas wrote Monday in the Wall Street Journal.
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, writes John B. Daukas https://t.co/zKxX3cuo78
— WSJ Editorial Page (@WSJopinion) February 21, 2021
The Cuomo administration’s decision to under-count nursing deaths was deliberate, according to Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa. “We froze,” she told state Democratic lawmakers in a closed conference call, because “we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.” That decision may “merit federal criminal charges,” Daukas argued.
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The State of New York only counted coronavirus patients who died in nursing homes as coronavirus deaths, unlike every other state. The other 49 states count any individual who contracted coronavirus in a nursing home and subsequently died from it as a nursing home death, even if the person died in the hospital.
New York political figures are also investigating the nursing home order. State Attorney General Letitia James found that the Cuomo Administration deliberately under-counted nursing home deaths by as much as 50%.
The state legislature is “inching toward” impeaching Cuomo for the nursing home scandal, Queens Democrat Ron Kim said Feb. 19. Kim said Cuomo threatened to “destroy” him in a private phone call at the state assemblyman’s home if Kim did not stop asking questions and publicly criticizing the governor’s handling of the nursing home data.
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