Was Cuomo's COVID Cover-Up a Federal Crime?
The consequences of providing false information to federal officials
Our friends at Powerline Blog ask whether the administration of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo violated federal criminal law in hiding COVID nursing home numbers from the Department of Justice. They bring up good points and we’ll piggy-back off their observations. We’ll dive a bit deeper.
NY Post Reports on the Cover-Up
This whole inquiry started after the New York Post reported that Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa told Democrat lawmakers that they hid nursing home data from federal investigators.
As we previously discussed, officials with the DOJ Civil Division in October 2020 sought information on “grossly substandard care” given to New York nursing home residents.
Conspiracy to Defraud the United States: 18 USC § 371
The admissions of Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa regarding their concerns of handing over nursing home COVID information to federal officials is revealing. This indicates a potential conspiracy intended to mislead federal officials, which would be a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.
Powerline also mentions the potential for a false statements charge under 18 USC § 1001, which provides:
The statements of DeRosa appear to be at odds with the February 15 public statements of Cuomo, who said:
We have been voluntarily producing information for that on a rolling basis as recently as January eighth as offered by DOJ, the rolling basis production.
Cuomo further stated they “voluntarily complied with the DOJ request for information.”
These statements have been challenged publicly. Not by the DOJ, but by the determined Janice Dean.
The DOJ Transition: Friends are Rewarded
The January 8, 2021 date is important.
The last reporting on the DOJ investigation had been from October 28, 2020, where it was confirmed that the DOJ was ramping up its inquiry into NY nursing home deaths. From Cuomo’s press conference it looks like NY had been periodically providing more information to the DOJ. Janice Dean reports that no information had been provided by late December 2020. No doubt Cuomo’s administration slowed production until after the 2020 election (and immediately before inauguration), trusting the Biden DOJ to drop the investigation of its political ally.
Cuomo’s assessment of the Biden DOJ proved right. By all accounts Biden’s DOJ has dropped its investigation into Cuomo’s actions “which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”
Thousands of nursing home residents may have died from Cuomo’s COVID orders. These residents were protected from civil rights violations by federal law. The Biden DOJ apparently dropped that investigation - which was potentially criminally impeded by the Cuomo administration.