(CNN) — Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed material related to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s book about leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
As part of a broader probe into Covid-19 deaths in New York nursing homes, officials in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York requested contracts and preparations used to pitch the book –“American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic” — to publishers, the people told the Journal, adding that the subpoenas signaled interest in nursing home issues in the memoir.
The Journal reported Monday that the subpoenas were sent last month to people — including state officials — who were involved in editing early drafts of Cuomo’s book.
CNN has reached out to Cuomo’s office and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for comment.
News of the subpoenas offers a glimpse into the scale of the probe from the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn into the handling of some of the data surrounding Covid-19 deaths in long-term-care facilities in New York.
The revelation could also invite fresh scrutiny of Cuomo’s book, which found renewed attention last month after tax records showed that the Democratic governor will receive more than $5 million through his book deal with publisher Penguin Random House.
In April, the New York state comptroller requested that the state attorney general, Letitia James, investigate allegations that Cuomo used state resources in the “development and promotion” of his book.
The letter to James asks her to specifically investigate “indictable” offenses related to the “use of property, services or resources of the state for personal purposes, private business purposes or other compensated non-governmental purposes” related to the drafting, editing, sale and promotion of Cuomo’s book and any related financial or business transactions.
“We won’t comment further on an ongoing investigation at this time,” James’ spokesman said at the time.
Senior Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi told CNN in a statement about the book in April: “The idea there was criminality involved here is patently absurd on its face and is just the furthering of a political pile-on.”
“This is Albany politics at its worst — both the Comptroller and the Attorney General have spoken to people about running for Governor and it is unethical to wield criminal referral authority to further political self-interest,” he said.