“As we publicly said, DOJ has been looking into this for months. We have been cooperating with them and we will continue to,” said Rich Azzopardi, senior adviser to the governor.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York declined to comment to CNN, as did the FBI in New York.
“And basically, we froze, because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice or what we give to you guys, what we start saying was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” DeRosa said on the call, according to a transcript released Friday by the governor’s office.
The escalating controversy has brought considerable political backlash to Cuomo, who was lauded early in the outbreak for his forthright news conferences and passionate pleas for more medical equipment from the federal government.
“No excuses. We should not have created the void. We should have done a better job in providing information, we should have done a better job of knocking down the disinformation,” he said.
“I accept responsibility for that. I am in charge. I take responsibility. We should have provided more information faster. We were too focused on doing the job and addressing the crisis of the moment.”
But Cuomo has been pleading with lawmakers for support and has even been accused of threatening political retribution against Democrats who have criticized him in an aggressive effort to contain political fallout from the revelations.
“Gov. Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa (DeRosa) and what she said. He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience,” Kim said.
Cuomo proceeded to tell the assemblyman that “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,” according to Kim. Cuomo’s adviser denied that the governor threatened to destroy Kim.
Other lawmakers in Albany are asking for at least one of the awards given to Cuomo to be rescinded as the controversy plays out.
Twenty New York state lawmakers sent a letter to the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, demanding it vacate Cuomo’s International Emmy Award in light of his administration’s handling of the Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes.
“While vacating the Governor’s Emmy wouldn’t bring back the over 15,000 New Yorkers we’ve lost, it would be a strong showing of solidarity with the families affected and the common good,” the lawmakers said in the letter, obtained by CNN affiliate Spectrum News Albany. “In a time when many people are disillusioned with our politics and our media, vacating Governor Cuomo’s Emmy would show the public that the academy stands against wrongdoing and injustice across the political spectrum. When over 15,000 people die, the public should get answers immediately, and the Governor’s dishonesty and lack of leadership should not be celebrated.”
CNN reached out to Cuomo’s office and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for comment.
This story has been updated with additional information Wednesday.