New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration granted special access to COVID-19 testing for his family and other “specials” as recently as April, according to a report by The New York Times.
Federal prosecutors that have been investigating Cuomo’s undercounting of nursing home deaths caused by COVID-19 since February are now looking into Cuomo’s priority testing program, the Times reported Wednesday.
Cuomo’s daughter, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, and her boyfriend were tested for COVID-19 on April 3, the outlet reported. Their samples were labeled “specials,” and were processed within hours because they were going to spend Easter with the governor, two people familiar with the situation told The Times.
“They were going to come in contact with the governor,” Cuomo’s personal lawyer Elkan Abramowitz said. “It would be a proper exercise of discretion to give priority testing to anyone who came in contact with the governor.”
Multiple news outlets reported in March that Cuomo’s administration prioritized COVID-19 testing for his family and others connected to his administration during the early stages of the pandemic when there was a shortage of tests available to the general public.
The governor’s brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, was one of the individuals that received priority testing during the early days of the pandemic.
“However, it is not surprising that in the earliest days of the once-in-a-century global pandemic, when Chris was showing symptoms and was concerned about the possible spread, he turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would,” CNN spokesman Matt Dornic said in defense of Chris Cuomo’s coronavirus testing.
In addition to an ongoing investigation by the FBI and a U.S. attorney in New York, Cuomo faces an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James over his alleged use of state resources to write a book he published in 2020 on leadership lessons he learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa reportedly attended meetings with prospective publishers and helped edit early drafts of the book around July 2020, according to The Times.
At the same time, DeRosa and two other Cuomo advisors reportedly pressured the New York State Department of Health to alter a report published in early July to conceal the true number of nursing home COVID-19 deaths.
James is also investigating accusations of sexual harassment against Cuomo from former staffers.
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