If the Division of Justice investigates the Cuomo Administration’s refusal to flip over knowledge on nursing home deaths, an enormous battle would come up if the case have been handed to the highly effective Manhattan federal prosecutor.
That’s as a result of Audrey Strauss, the US Legal professional for the Southern District, is the mother-in-law of top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa, the determine on the middle of the rising scandal.
The clamor demanding a probe into the cover-up of hundreds of deaths have intensified after The Put up reported DeRosa’s gorgeous admission that the Cuomo administration withheld the knowledge from state lawmakers over the summer time as a result of it was apprehensive federal prosecutors would “use it towards us.”
The Justice Division in late August had begun an inquiry into nursing home deaths in New York and elsewhere.
“And mainly, we froze,” DeRosa, who is secretary to the governor and his closest confidante, admitted to state lawmakers on a convention name.
“We weren’t positive if what we have been going to give to the Division of Justice or what we give to you guys and what we begin saying was going to be used towards us and we weren’t positive if there was going to be an investigation,” she advised lawmakers on a convention name Wednesday.
DeRosa’s admission led one observer to quip “Did you freeze earlier than or after you referred to as your mother-in-law.”
Cuomo has been closely criticized for his mandate early in the pandemic that ill-equipped nursing houses settle for recovering coronoavirus sufferers discharged from hospitals although the aged are among the many most vunerable to the lethal illness.
Amongst these calling for a federal probe Friday have been former Gov. George Pataki, who referred to as the cover-up “reprehensible.”
Upstate Congresswoman Elise Stefanik — a highschool classmate of DeRosa — mentioned “Governor Cuomo, the secretary to the governor, and his senior group have to be prosecuted instantly – each by the Legal professional Basic of New York State and the U.S. Division of Justice.”
Strauss, 73, turned the top prosecutor in Manhattan after President Trump mentioned he was firing Geoffrey Berman in June 2020 and Berman agreed to step down so long as Strauss, who had been his deputy, would grow to be the performing US Legal professional.
Berman referred to as her “the neatest, most principled, and efficient lawyer with whom I’ve ever had the privilege of working.”
DeRosa, 38, has been married to Strauss’ son, Matthew Wing, 37, a former Cuomo spokesman, since 2016.
Whereas the Southern District prosecutes many high-profile crimes, the case might be dealt with by the Northern District, which covers Albany.
Contacted by The Put up, Cuomo spokesman Peter Ajemian refused to touch upon the potential battle of curiosity, and as an alternative issued an announcement on the Cuomo administration’s eventual launch of data to the feds and state lawmakers.
“We knowledgeable the legislature that we wanted to pause their request for info whereas we prioritized a request by the federal DOJ,” he mentioned. “We supplied the federal DOJ with the knowledge they requested for comprehensively, after which we have been in a position to start attending to the state legislature’s request, which now we have now responded to.”
The administration delayed for months the general public launch of the actual depend of COVID-infected nursing home residents who died in hospitals, however Ajemian texted the Put up an announcement from State Well being Commissioner Howard Zucker saying that the Division of Well being “has all the time publicly reported the variety of fatalities inside hospitals regardless of the residence of the affected person, and individually reported the variety of fatalities inside nursing home services.”
The whole knowledge on the deaths got here out solely this month after the administration was compelled to launch it by means of a Freedom of Data Legislation request and a choose’s order.
James Margolin, spokesman for the Southern District, declined remark.
Further reporting by Dana Kennedy