Investigatory scrutiny of embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) appears to be heating up amid a report from the Wall Street Journal indicating that federal prosecutors recently subpoenaed materials related to the development of his self-congratulatory coronavirus retrospective, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The outlet noted that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York has requested from a number of Cuomo’s top aides communications linked to the production of the book, encompassing contracts, items used in presentations to potential publishers, and more.
According to sources who spoke to the Journal, the existence of the subpoenas are a strong indication that the probe of Cuomo is expanding well beyond the initial examination of New York nursing home deaths during the extended public health crisis, the initiation of which was first revealed back in February of this year, as the Washington Examiner noted.
Given the serious questions still being asked about Cuomo’s highly controversial policy which sent thousands of COVID-infected patients to nursing homes in the state in numbers much higher than publicly disclosed, and which allegedly resulted in unnecessary resident deaths, the governor’s decision to write a book touting his successes during the pandemic struck many as extraordinarily tone deaf, particularly since he earned roughly $5 million for the project.
Adding to the questionable nature of the endeavor was the fact that Cuomo was the subject of a March ethics complaint accusing him of unlawfully deploying state resources to boost sales of the book, as the Examiner further noted. That inquiry resulted in criminal referral to New York Attorney General Letitia James authorizing a probe of “any indictable offense or offenses” encompassing “the drafting, editing, sale and promotion of the governor’s book and any related financial or business transactions.”
For his part, Cuomo has denied wrongdoing in relation to the book, asserting that any staffers involved in its production and promotion freely volunteered their time and talents, despite admitting that there may have been “incidental” use of official state resources during the process.
The aforementioned federal subpoenas represent just one facet of the multiple scandals engulfing Cuomo in recent months. The State Assembly is also conducting an impeachment probe of its own over the nursing home controversy, the COVID-19 memoir, a slew of sexual misconduct allegations, and possible mishandling of safety concerns related to the Mario Cuomo Bridge, as the Associated Press reports.
Cuomo has continued to face mounting calls for his resignation, including from such prominent Democrats as New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, yet he has remained defiant in his refusal to step down.
The governor is eligible to seek re-election in 2022, and, considering his recently-announced plans to host a $10,000 per person fundraiser in the Big Apple later this month, he appears to be the embodiment of supreme confidence – or extreme denial – with regard to precisely where each of these ongoing investigations will lead.