A number of legal experts have opined that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's deliberate undercounting of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes in his state may constitute a federal criminal offense, Fox News reports.
According to Cuomo's top aide Melissa DeRosa, the New York state government deliberately underreported nursing homes deaths because they thought it would be used against them by the Trump administration.
Former attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department John B. Daukas described the allegations against Cuomo as not "merely negligent, but intentional and perhaps criminal."
"Even if it cannot be proved that the Cuomo administration knowingly provided false information to Justice and the [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services]," Daukas wrote.
"New York's willful failure to provide information may itself constitute a criminal offense—particularly if the intent was to thwart a federal investigation—which, after all, is exactly what Ms. DeRosa reportedly said the administration did."
Cuomo has also been accused of threatening lawmakers who have sought to investigate the issue. Ron Kim, a Democratic New York state Assemblyman, allegedly received threatening calls from Cuomo after he began asking questions about nursing homes, including that his career will be ended.
Other Democratic politicians and media personalities have also taken to criticizing Cuomo's handling of coronavirus, which had previously received widespread acclaim. Cuomo won an Emmy award for his public statements made during the height of the pandemic in his state.