Andrew and Chris Cuomo accused of colluding to smear reporter who vocally criticized nursing home scandal

Former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo along with his brother former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo along with the governor’s top aide allegedly plotted to discredit a journalist who criticized the governor over the nursing home scandal. 

According to a report by The Daily Caller, the brothers and the governor’s top aide were attempting to implement negative repercussions for the Fox News meteorologist and host for being a vocal critic of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the height of the scandal, Janice Dean became a critic of the New York governor and his deception of how the pandemic was being handled in nursing homes after both her parents died in elder-care facilities in 2020. 

The news broke. in May of 2020, and was reported by The Daily Caller, that the New York governor had undercounted the number of COVID-related deaths, causing shock and alarm, especially in those who had been kept from their parents due to the pandemic.

The number of COVID-related deaths were undercounted by as much as 50 percent in some cases, attempting to indicate that the elderly were dying in hospitals instead of at the elder facilities.

DeRosa and other close aides of Cuomo planned to discredit Dean as a ‘right-wing commentator’ for being a vocal critic of the governor’s pandemic policies,” the Daily Caller reported. “DeRosa crafted strategies to attempt to silence Dean’s criticisms, sources familiar with the matter told [CNBC].”

Along with several of his closest political allies, the governor attended strategy sessions where Dean was mentioned and targeted as a way of protecting the Cuomo administration for its response to the pandemic. 

Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was part of the program by allegedly being asked to gather information about Dean’s political affiliations, though it’s unclear whether Cuomo sought information about the Fox News employee. 

“Rich Azzopardi, a spokesperson for the former governor, told the outlet that he had no knowledge of Chris seeking information on Dean,” the Daily Caller reported.

The spokesperson denied that the strategy sessions were centered around Dean and that her criticisms, thoug they were addressed by Cuomo’s press office.

“We had no ‘strategy sessions’ about Janice Dean and to the extent that the press office had to respond to something she said, it was handled by the press office and did not rise to the level of something the governor would be engaged with,” he said in a Friday email.

For her part, Dean said that her comments and criticism were not political, but personal in nature, as she and others grieved on behalf of the victims and their families. She said Azzopardi called herself and other vocal critics “a death cult,” for their response to family members dying. 

“As I have said from day one, this was never about politics,” Dean said. “I watched first-hand how the governor’s office treated grieving families trying to get answers about the March 25th, 2020 executive order to admit over 9,000 Covid positive patients into nursing homes.”

“Instead of addressing our concerns or expressing their condolences, Cuomo’s spokesperson Rich Azzopardi called us a ‘death cult’ and told my sister-in-law to ‘get a life’ not long after both her parents died.”

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