New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s book on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic is attracting new interest, but not the kind the embattled Democrat might like.
Cuomo, who is under investigation for allegations of sexual harassment, is also facing a federal probe into the deaths of New Yorkers in nursing homes during the early months of the pandemic.
As part of that investigation, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York are seeking communications concerning Cuomo’s book, “American Crisis,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal quotes sources it does not name.
The report said prosecutors are looking for contracts and materials used to pitch the book.
Subpoenas were sent to individuals involved in editing early versions of “American Crisis,” including some state officials, according to The Journal.
The Journal reported that the subpoenas are an indication that “the criminal probe is continuing to widen beyond its initial request for data on when and where nursing home residents died during the pandemic”
Michael Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor, said prosecutors are probably looking for inconsistencies.
“If reflections memorialized in records and notes are inconsistent with what he was saying publicly or with disclosures to health or government officials, that is potentially problematic,” he said.
According to the Albany Times-Union, the federal investigation is focused on current and former health officials who were involved in the reporting of nursing home deaths — “and what they were directed to do by top Cuomo aides.”
“The federal investigation is examining whether anyone was directed to manipulate or change data, including the possibility it was altered to benefit the governor’s public profile, or whether the administration may have knowingly provided erroneous data or information to any federal agencies, including the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],” the newspaper reported.
In March 2020, Cuomo ordered nursing homes to accept people who had COVID-19, according to The Journal.
His critics have said that order led to thousands of deaths in nursing homes. Cuomo has disputed that contention.
Cuomo’s office has also been accused of deliberately falsifying the number of nursing home deaths due to COVID-19.
“American Crisis,” for which Cuomo is set to receive $5.1 million, is already the subject of another investigation into whether state workers improperly assisted in the book’s development.
A Cuomo advisor has insisted any state workers who helped with the book did so as volunteers on their own time.
Cuomo is also facing an investigation by the New York state attorney general into allegations that he sexually harassed members of his staff.
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