Legal Analysis on Investigation of New York State Handling of Nursing Home Deaths During Pandemic

WGRZ 2 On Your Side has aired several reports on the latest news regarding how the office of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has handled nursing home deaths in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of their ongoing coverage, WGRZ anchor Scott Levin interviewed attorney Barry Covert to provide legal analysis for this story.

As reported by WGRZ, the New York Post published an article that claimed Melissa DeRosa, the Secretary to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, admitted during a video conference call with Democratic lawmakers that they hid nursing home data so the federal government would not find out. DeRosa issued a statement regarding her comments during the video call, subsequent to the New York Post story.

In his interview with WGRZ, attorney Barry Covert provided analysis on the potential criminal liability of the alleged actions of Gov. Cuomo’s office as well as the importance of the statement issued by Melissa DeRosa. Continue reading for Barry Covert’s comments and click the video below to play his full interview.

Anchor Scott Levin first asked Barry Covert if any of the alleged actions of Gov. Cuomo’s office could rise to the level of criminality. Mr. Covert stated “It certainly could because it is illegal to misrepresent any material fact or conceal a material fact from any branch of the federal government, including in this case the Department of Justice.”

Barry Covert went on to say “If this triggers them to now look at the documents that they submitted or the timeliness of the documents they submitted, and if they find that either there is a material misstatement in those documents or that there was an effort to conceal material facts by how long they delayed in providing those documents, then it could be what’s known as a § 1001 violation. That’s United States code and there could be criminal liability here. They just need to go back now and check look at the timeline and look at the accuracy of the statements. Because if they do find that there was an attempt to conceal or that there were material misstatements, she has indicated in that interview, that this was intentionally done.”

Mr. Covert was then asked about the importance of comments made by Melissa DeRosa. He replied “That actual interview is very important because if there was an attempt to conceal from the federal government or to provide a misstatement in relation to the number of nursing home deaths for example, she has now during that interview indicated that this was done intentionally. So, usually you have to find some circumstantial evidence to prove intent. In this case she’s already given what her intent was, which was as soon as they got any request from the Department of Justice, they started to panic and didn’t want to turn that information over.”

If you have any questions or would like further information, click here to contact Barry Covert.