NEW YORK - New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim says Gov. Andrew Cuomo and staff repeatedly called and texted him after an initial conversation where he was threatened by the governor.
Kim is one of nine Democrats who signed a letter seeking support for a bill that would revoke the governor's emergency powers related to the pandemic, which are set to expire this spring.
Speaking with FOX 5 NY morning program 'Good Day New York,' Kim said Cuomo called him on Saturday night and berated and yelled at him for 10 minutes.
"Are you a lawyer? You didn't hear right. You are not a lawyer. How could you have understood what Melissa had said? This is what she said. You will issue the statement tonight and you will go back and do it," Kim said about Cuomo.
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Last week, Cuomo's top aide Melissa DeRosa told Democratic lawmakers that the administration took months to release data revealing how many people living at nursing homes died of COVID-19 because officials "froze" over worries the information was "going to be used against us."
"I heard what happened in a private meeting. I felt that his secretary admitted to lying to hide numbers because they didn't want federal investigators to weaponize that data against them," Kim said. "I spoke out and told the truth."
In recent weeks, the Cuomo administration revealed that 15,000 long-term care residents had died, up from the 8,500 previously disclosed.
The lawmaker says he hired a lawyer after the phone call and at least four other follow-up calls that he refused to answer.
Kim showed his cell phone on-screen where there appeared to be a missed call from 'Cuomo' and several 'No Caller IDs' listed. Kim says there were several voicemails left, too.
Cuomo has denied the allegations and said Kim is a chronic liar.
"I didn’t say anything about Assemblyman Ron Kim. He attacked me," Cuomo said on Wednesday. "He attacked me and said that I obstructed justice in a letter."
With the Associated Press