Woman fired for posing as reporter at NYC press conference over mask mandate for kids under 5

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Tuesday, April 5, 2022
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Derick Waller reports on the mask mandate for kids under 5 from City Hall.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A lawyer for New York City was fired after she crashed a news conference Monday, pretending to be a reporter to confront Mayor Eric Adams about the city's mask mandate for children aged 2 to 4.

Daniela Jampel, who had worked for the city law department since 2016, was fired later on Monday, a department spokesperson said.

Jampel was fired after she attended a City Hall press conference and demanded that Adams "unmask our toddlers."

The law department spokesperson said she had misrepresented herself as a journalist at the press conference.

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A small group of parents protested at City Hall Park Monday, upset that Adams decided to extend the mask mandate for children in pre-school and daycare, even though the mandate has been lifted for just about everyone else.

Jampel posed as a reporter at the press conference, asking the mayor why toddlers still have to cover up.

The mayor answered her question.

"There's a new variant," he said. "The numbers are increasing. We're going to move at the right pace. And that's the role I must do, I answered your question. If you want to do a follow-up, we can do a follow, up but I answered your question."

Jampel had made previous comments about the city's mask mandates, and the Law Department later said the decision had already been made fire her.

However, she was immediately terminated after she lied to the mayor's staff and claimed she was a journalist.

"We hold all of our employees to the highest professional standards," a Law Department spokesperson said. "In public statements, Ms. Jampel has made troubling claims about her work for the city Law Department. Based on those statements, the decision had been made to terminate her prior to today. Today's events, however, which include her decision to lie to City Hall staff and state she was a journalist at a press conference, demonstrate a disturbing lack of judgment and integrity. As of today, she is no longer an employee of the Law Department."

The spokesperson appeared to be referencing a tweet Jampel posted on Friday and then deleted that said that as an attorney for the city she had "represented cops who lie in court, teachers who molest children, prison guards who beat inmates." The tweet continued, "It is a job I have done proudly. Until tonight. Fighting to keep masks on toddlers is shameful. I am ashamed of my office."

Jampel posted and deleted another tweet after her firing Monday saying she was retaining counsel.

Despite a recent rise, a graph from the city's website shows how many New Yorkers are still going to the hospital with COVID.

Still, that number is about 75 times lower now than it was during the last surge in early January.

On Friday, Staten Island Judge Ralph Porzio sided with parents who sued to have the mandate tossed, but the city was granted a stay to continue enforcement pending an appeal.

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(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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