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Prosecutors ask New York State officials for communications related to Cuomo book: report

Prosecutors ask New York State officials for communications related to Cuomo book: report
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Federal prosecutors have reportedly requested communications from New York state officials related to New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoFoo Fighters, Dave Chapelle cover 'Creep' at first MSG show since pandemic Katie Hill says 'it would take a lot' to convince her to run again for House New York City moving thousands of people from hotels back to shelters MORE’s (D) recent book as part of their investigation into COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, reported that individuals involved with editing the early versions of Cuomo’s memoir “American Crisis,” including state officials, received subpoenas last month requesting information related to the publication, such as contracts and materials used to pitch the book to publishers.

The subpoenas are reportedly part of a federal probe investigating Cuomo’s handling of coronavirus outbreaks in New York nursing homes, led by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

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Sources told the Journal that the subpoenas demonstrated prosecutors’ interest in the accounts related to nursing homes in the book.

The investigation is also looking into the drafting of a state law that gave immunity to nursing home operators, according to the newspaper, and if the state granted priority access to COVID-19 testing for people close to the governor.

The Hill reached out to Cuomo for comment.

Cuomo was the target of criticism at the height of the pandemic, with some lawmakers blaming him for the high death toll in state nursing homes because of an order he passed in March 2020 that said facilities could not deny a resident entry just because they tested positive for COVID-19.

In the book, however, Cuomo defended his decisions, contending that the policies were in line with federal guidelines at the time, the Journal noted. He said the criticism was part of a Republican political campaign to pin the blame of COVID-19 deaths on Democrats. 

Additionally, Cuomo’s administration received backlash for the state’s tally of nursing home deaths, which some reports say was undercounted. For the majority of last year, New York state officially only reported a nursing home death if the resident died at the facility.

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Cuomo and publisher Penguin Random House reached a $5.1 million deal for the memoir, according to the Journal. Two other state investigations are reportedly looking into if it was wrong for administration officials to help edit a draft of the book last summer.

Cuomo’s senior adviser Rich Azzopardi, however, has contended that the officials worked on the book on a volunteer basis.

Cuomo is also the subject of a investigation, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), into allegations of sexual misconduct and an impeachment inquiry by the New York State Assembly, which is focusing on a number of allegations the embattled governor is facing.

The governor has repeatedly denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, telling reporters in April that he "didn’t do anything wrong.”

He did, though, apologize for acting "in a way that made people feel uncomfortable."

"It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed by it. And that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth,” Cuomo said in March.