June 09, 2021
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for communications between Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Robert Redfield and New York State and federal government officials regarding COVID-19 deaths reported by New York (Judicial Watch Inc. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:21-cv-01210)).
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after HHS failed to respond adequately to a March 11, 2021, FOIA request for:
· All emails sent to and from CDC Director Robert Redfield regarding the numbers of deaths reported by New York State government officials due to Covid 19 (also known as SARS-Cov-2 or the novel coronavirus); and
· [A]ll emails between CDC Director Robert Redfield and other federal and state government officials with accounts ending in @cdc.gov and/or @exec.ny.gov, regarding the veracity of official numbers of deaths reported by New York State government officials due to Covid 19/SARS-Cov-2.
In January 2020 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration was reported to have “confirmed thousands more nursing home residents died of COVID-19 than the state’s official tallies had previously acknowledged,” and according to New York Attorney General Letitia James, “the nursing home death count could be off by about 50%.”
On April 28, 2021, The New York Times reported:
The effort by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office to obscure the pandemic death toll in New York nursing homes was far greater than previously known, with aides repeatedly overruling state health officials over a span of at least five months, according to interviews and newly unearthed documents.
The Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing home death data now is the subject of a federal investigation, one of at least four overlapping inquiries into the governor and his administration. As of this month, more than 15,500 nursing home residents with Covid-19 have died.
“We have little confidence that Gov. Cuomo’s corrupt political allies in DC and NY will do a competent investigation of his nursing home scandal,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This new lawsuit aims to allow the American people to find out now, not years from now, what Gov. Cuomo is hiding.”
Earlier this year, Judicial Watch also sued HHS for records about New York and Pennsylvania nursing home policies and procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.