A New York lawmaker alleges that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) threatened his career over accusations that the governor’s administration covered up the COVID-19 death toll among the state’s nursing home residents.
Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim told CNN that the governor called him last week and said he “hadn’t seen his wrath and he can destroy me.”
“Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa [DeRosa] and what she said,” Kim told the outlet.
Cuomo has received an outpouring of criticism over allegations that he covered up the true number of coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes across the state. And last week, top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa acknowledged in a private virtual call with lawmakers that the governor’s administration had withheld data on the deaths from state lawmakers for months because state officials “froze” over worries that the information was “going to be used against us” by then-President Donald Trump.
Kim, who represents Queens, told CNN that Cuomo tried pressuring him into releasing a statement in support of the governor.
“He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience,” Kim said. He added that Cuomo told him “‘we’re in this business together and we don’t cross certain lines,’ and he said I hadn’t seen his wrath and that he can destroy me.”
Kim’s wife also told CNN she overheard portions of the call, including Cuomo using the words “my wrath.”
An adviser for Cuomo denied Kim’s description of the call.
“No man has ever spoken to me like that in my entire life,” Kim told CNN. “At some point he tried to humiliate me, asking: ‘Are you a lawyer? I didn’t think so. You’re not a lawyer.’ It almost felt like in retrospect he was trying to bait me and anger me and say something inappropriate. I’m glad I didn’t.”
Kim said he has hired a lawyer out of caution.
Last week, a reporter asked Cuomo if state Attorney General Letitia James should investigate the allegations against the governor and his team.
“There’s nothing to investigate there,” Cuomo responded.
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[This article may have been written with information from various sources]