“They had to first make sure that the state was protected against federal investigation.”

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D-NY) top aide admitted that her team withheld the number of deaths related to COVID-19 in New York’s nursing homes to shield the Cuomo government from federal investigation and political scrutiny.

The New York Post reported on Thursday that Melissa DeRosa, New York’s secretary to the governor, apologized to Democrat state legislators for “political” damage caused by the Cuomo government’s suppression of information related to nursing home COVID-19 deaths.

In a recorded call with state Democrat lawmakers, DeRosa said Cuomo’s team feared a federal investigation in the context of former President Donald Trump’s highlighting of coronavirus-related deaths in New York’s nursing homes. This fear motivated Cuomo’s government to suppress the statistics against requests for such information from the state’s government and citizens’ organizations.

Cuomo’s team prioritized political protection over transparency with New York’s citizens, assessed Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), who partook in the conference call.

“They had to first make sure that the state was protected against federal investigation.” Kim told the New York Post. He said DeRosa’s remarks sounded “like they admitted that they were trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence that might put the administration or the [Health Department] in further trouble with the Department of Justice. That’s how I understand their reasoning of why they were unable to share, in real time, the data.”

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