Chief NY Judge Janet DiFiore obtained priority COVID testing

New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore — who was nominated to her post by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2016 — received priority COVID-19 testing along with some of her family members last year, state officials said Friday.

DiFiore is the latest prominent New Yorker with ties to the governor — along with Cuomo’s family members — to be revealed to have gotten priority testing from state public health officials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A public health nurse and members of the state National Guard were ordered to DiFiore’s private residence in Southampton on Long Island in August to conduct the testing, according to the Albany Times Union, which first reported the testing.

The test samples were then transferred to a state trooper, who immediately rushed them to a state-run laboratory for priority processing, the paper said.

The state Office of Court Administration confirmed that DiFiore — who could wind up sitting on any future impeachment jury of Cuomo — and her relatives had been tested at her Southampton residence last summer.

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore could be on the jury of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s impeachment trial.
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore could be on the jury of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s impeachment trial.
AP Photo/Mike Groll

A spokesman told The Post Friday the testing took place after a young member of the judge’s family had tested positive for the infectious disease.

“A member of her family, who they had quarantined with, was suspected to have been exposed to the virus. She requested testing and the Department of Health responded,” said OCA spokesman Lucian Chalfen.

“What and how they handled the samples was outside of our purview. It was the only time that a request was made.”

The priority testing is one topic being scrutinized as part of multiple probes of allegations against Cuomo and his administration’s handling of the COVID pandemic.

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore was sworn in by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Albany, NY on Feb. 8, 2016.
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore is sworn in by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Albany on Feb. 8, 2016.
AP Photo/Skip Dickstein,Times Union

Two state investigations are being conducted by Attorney General Letitia James and the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

James is looking at sexual harassment accusations leveled at Cuomo by current and former staffers, as well as claims that government resources were used to help the the governor publish his $5.1 million COVID memoir.

The Assembly’s Judiciary Committee’s impeachment probe is also looking at the sexual harassment claims as well as whether the Cuomo administration deliberately undercounted COVID-related nursing home deaths, the book deal and the priority COVID testing issue.

Meanwhile the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn is investigating the Cuomo administration’s COVID policies, nursing home deaths and the book deal.

If Cuomo is impeached by the Assembly, a trial to remove the three-term Democrat would be held in the state Senate. As chief judge, DiFiore would sit as one of the jurors.

DiFiore is married to Dennis Glazer, whose former law firm — Davis Polk & Wardwell — was hired by the Assembly to assist in its impeachment probe.

That connection has been called an “unacceptable conflict of interest” by lawyer for ex-Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett, who is among his most outspoken accusers.

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore reportedly sought priority COVID-19 testing after a family member tested positive.
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore reportedly sought priority COVID-19 testing after a family member tested positive.
AP Photo/Mike Groll

The OCA spokesman said the testing issue would have no impact on DiFiore’s ability to participate in a Senate trial on Cuomo.

“Not at all, she along with all her colleagues on the Court of Appeals, will perform their constitutional duties as is appropriate,” Chalfen said.

It was revealed earlier this year that Cuomo’s brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, his mother, Matilda, and other Cuomo relatives were given priority testing by state health department officials. The results were then rushed to the state lab in Albany for quick turnaround of results.

Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing when confronted with the various accusations.

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