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Probe of Cuomo coverup raised at Merrick Garland’s hearing

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Probe of Cuomo coverup raised at Merrick Garland's hearing

The scandal enveloping Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeped into the confirmation hearing for President Biden’s attorney general nominee Monday, when Merrick Garland was asked whether a reported federal probe would be compromised by the personal ties a top Cuomo aide shares with one of New York City’s two US attorneys.

Garland, a federal appeals judge, would oversee Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss, the mother-in-law of Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa, who admitted the administration withheld the true number of deaths among nursing home residents due to COVID-19, her explosive remarks revealed earlier this month by The Post.

The Democratic governor has tried to walk back DeRosa’s remarks, saying she was referring to stonewalling of state legislators, rather than an Oct. 27 request for data from the Justice Department. Skeptics say DeRosa’s remarks seem to describe a stonewalling of the feds, too.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Garland at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing that he was concerned about Strauss’ role.

“In this instance, the acting US attorney is the mother in law of the senior official in the Cuomo administration that admitted to the coverup. Will you at least commit to not having the administrative investigation done by a person with a conflict of interest?” Cruz asked.

Garland said, “Of course.”

“I don’t know any of the facts, but I can guarantee you that somebody with a conflict of interest will not be the person running an investigation of any kind,” Garland said.

The Brooklyn-based US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Seth DuCharme, and the FBI reportedly are looking into the Democratic governor’s conduct. It’s unclear what role if any Manhattan’s Southern District, led by Strauss, is playing in the review.

In response to an initial question from Cruz about the reported probe, Garland told Cruz, “with all all of these investigations, the Justice Department is open to evidence of fraud, false statements violations of the law and normally begin in the appropriate way in the relevant US attorney’s office.”

Cuomo says state officials sent the Justice Department some information on Jan. 8 about nursing home deaths, but he has not publicly released the document.

The governor, who won an Emmy award for his COVID-19 press conferences and parlayed the pandemic into a best-selling book on his own leadership during the crisis, denies that a March 25 state rule barring nursing homes from turning away coronavirus-positive patients contributed significantly to New York’s 46,000 COVID-19 deaths.

The federal request for nursing home death data preceded a January report from New York state Attorney General Letitia James, who found a greater than 50 percent undercount of nursing home deaths in a sample of homes, forcing Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to revise figures upward to reflect 12,743 deaths as of Jan. 19.

DeRosa told state legislators that when the Justice Department requested complete death data on nursing homes “we froze” out of fear that the true numbers would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors.

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Police searching for motorcyclist accused of shooting Texas officer

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Police searching for motorcyclist accused of shooting Texas officer

Texas authorities are searching for a motorcyclist who allegedly shot a police officer during a traffic stop on Sunday night, a report said.

The suspected shooter was identified by authorities as 43-year-old Royce Wood. He allegedly shot a Rhome police officer in the leg near the intersection of Farm-to-Market roads 407 and 2264 in Wise County, NBC DFW reported.

Wood was driving a motorcycle with a female passenger when they were stopped. One of them matched the description of the suspect wanted in a Saturday night home invasion, authorities said.

After the shooting, Wood fled the scene on foot. The female passenger was taken into custody.

The injured officer was hospitalized in stable condition.

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Spectators injured by out-of-control vehicle at Texas mud racing event

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Spectators injured by out-of-control vehicle at Texas mud racing event

Eight people, including spectators, were injured Sunday at a Texas mud racing event after an out-of-control vehicle plowed through a guard rail, a report said.

Three of the victims were critically injured in the crash at a track in Fabens, KTSM reported, citing authorities. The other five people suffered non-life threatening injuries.

It was not immediately known what caused the driver to exit the track and crash. Three other vehicles were also hit, the report said.

A medevac helicopter was spotted at the event, along with several ambulances.

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Over 5,800 USPS workers attacked by dogs last year

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Over 5,800 USPS workers attacked by dogs last year

Over 5,800 USPS workers were attacked by dogs last year, the agency recently announced ahead of a campaign to highlight the issue.

“From nips and bites to vicious attacks, aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to postal employees and the general public,” the USPS said in a Thursday press release.

Of all major US cities, Houston last year experienced the most dog attacks on letter carriers — with 73 of them, the service said in its release. Chicago and Los Angeles were second and third on the list, with 59 and 54, respectively.

California, meanwhile, was home to the most dog attacks by state in 2020 with 782.
New York had 295 attacks, which was the fourth most of any state.

As part of the weeklong awareness campaign, which began Saturday, the service is providing guidance to dog owners to help mitigate the problem.

Among the pointers is not letting children in homes with dogs to take mail from the letter carriers, as the animals may view the worker as a threat.

Kansas City letter carrier James Michael Benson was recently attacked after a child answered the door.

“I knocked on a customer’s door to pick up a package and as a young child answered, a dog came bursting out of the door and bit my forearm, knocking me to the ground “ said Benson.

“I was in shock and struggling with the dog, when he lunged and bit me again on my face, under my ear.”

The dog was then restrained by its owner.

“Dogs are instinctive animals that may act to protect their turf and that why it’s important to inform the public about this campaign,” USPS Acting Employee Safety and Health Awareness Manager Jamie Seavello said in a statement.

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