In a brand new letter to their colleagues, nine Democrat lawmakers from New York accuse Governor Cuomo of obstruction of justice in light of the ongoing nursing home scandal.
“We implore you to set aside any concerns of loyalty or disloyalty to this Governor, or that this matter is politicized,” they say.
The letter goes on to say; “We must absolutely consider above all the sanctity of the democratic institution that we call the Legislature of the State of New York, and resolutely pursue justice in the face of an executive who we can say without hesitation has engaged in intentional criminal wrongdoing.”
The scathing letter comes after an aide from Governor Cuomo’s administration admitted that the data regarding the deaths in nursing homes was intentionally withheld from New York lawmakers.
For months, the New York Governor had been accused of contributing to the high numbers of death in his state despite simultaneously claiming his state handled the crisis best. In March 2020, Cuomo issued a directive which prohibited nursing homes from turning away COVID-19 positive people.
The lawmakers mentioned Democrat Assemblyman Ron Kim in the letter, whose uncle died of COVID-19 in a nursing home. Kim is now introducing a bill along with state Senator Alessandra Biaggi to repeal the amendments passed last year that extended Cuomo’s emergency powers.
“This is a necessary first step in beginning to right the criminal wrongs of this Governor and his administration,” the letter said.
The Assembly members added that this alone would not be enough, stating that failure to do this “and engage in additional measures to seek the realization of justice” would make them “complicit” in the obstruction and the conscious omission of nursing home deaths data.
Last week, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa acknowledged that the administration intentionally kept nursing home data under wraps out of fear of possible repercussions from the Department of Justice.
DeRosa went on to say that she and the administration “needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the Federal’s request first.”
Despite her attempt at an explanation, the lawmakers accused Governor Cuomo of withholding information and obstructing justice “In an attempt to circumvent a United States Department of Justice probe, and despite a joint hearing held by the State Legislature last August in which representatives of the Cuomo administration were compelled to testify and answer crucial questions to our body.”
On Monday, Cuomo acknowledged that his administration delayed in reporting information about nursing home deaths but denied any wrongdoing. He claimed staffers at the New York State Assembly and Senate were informed by his team and that their request for data was on hold until the Department of Justice request was fulfilled last August.
Biaggi, however, pushed back and said in a tweet saying:
“No, @NYGovCuomo, you did not tell the *entire* Senate or Assembly that there was a DOJ investigation, as the reason why you didn’t share the nursing home numbers,” Biaggi said in a statement. “I found out about a DOJ investigation with the rest of NY’ers in the @nypost story Thursday night.”
No, @NYGovCuomo , you did not tell the *entire* Senate or Assembly that there was a DOJ investigation, as the reason why you didn't share the nursing home numbers.
I found out about a DOJ investigation with the rest of NY'ers in the @nypost story Thursday night.
— Alessandra Biaggi (@Biaggi4NY) February 15, 2021