NY Expedited COVID Test for Top Judge’s Relative in Southampton

Janet DiFiore in 2006. (REUTERS/Chip East)

A relative of New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore received priority testing for COVID-19 from the state Department of Health at her Southampton residence last summer, according to reports and officials.

State-issued COVID-19 tests being prioritized for people with ties to Gov. Andrew Cuomo is among the issues being examined in the state Assembly judiciary committee’s impeachment inquiry into the governor. Cuomo’s office has denied wrongdoing and maintained the tests were not improper. State law forbids officials from using government resources to provide preferential treatment.

“She didn’t receive priority testing,” Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the Office of Court Administration, told Dan’s Papers. “However a member of her family, who she had quarantined with, was suspected to have been exposed to the virus. She requested testing and the Department of Health responded. What and how they handled the samples was outside of our purview.”

Several New York National Guard members went to the house with a nurse to perform the test and a state Trooper rushed the sample to a state lab for expedited processing in August, according to the Albany Times-Union, which first reported the story.

As Dan’s Papers has reported, the impeachment probe is exploring how the governor’s brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, received a state-issued COVID test at his Southampton home in March 2020 during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic when access was scarce. When the DiFiore test occurred in August, tests were more widely available.

DiFiore, who Cuomo appointed top judge in 2015, would reportedly serve as a juror if the impeachment goes to trial in the state Senate.

Related Story: Cuomo’s Impeachment Probe Takes Hamptons Star Turn

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