Disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will not face any state charges associated with his executive order that resulted in the deaths of as many as 15,000 nursing home residents. His order placed COVID positive patients in the nursing homes even though alternative locations were available, a move that quickly led to their deaths.
According to news reports, new Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will not bring charges in the case.
Cuomo’s lawyer, Elkan Abramowitz, applauded the decision.
He said in a statement: “I was contacted today by the head of the Elder Care Unit from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office who informed me they have closed its investigation involving the Executive Chamber and nursing homes. I was told that after a thorough investigation – as we have said all along – there was no evidence to suggest that any laws were broken.”
The families of elderly people who died in nursing homes are furious:
“Letting Cuomo off the hook is a bad way to start 2022,” said Vivian Zayas, co-founder of Voices For Seniors, whose mother, Ana Martinez, died of COVID while in a nursing rehab facility.
“Fifteen thousand people lost their lives in nursing homes. It doesn’t look like prosecutors are taking this seriously. They’re basically protecting Cuomo.
“We are disappointed in our judicial system.”
Cuomo could still possibly be held accountable.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) said Cuomo isn’t out of the woods yet.
Kim, chairman of the Assembly Aging Committee, said he considered the ongoing probes by federal prosecutors and AG James more serious threats to Cuomo than the Manhattan DA’s inquiry.
“Cuomo used his executive power to suppress nursing home deaths while chasing a $5.1 million book deal. Sooner or later the truth will come out,” Kim said.
The feds’ probe is still examining the Cuomo administration’s actions relating to the nursing homes and other long-term care facilities after thousands of their residents died from COVID-19.
The FBI also interviewed state officials about Cuomo’s $5.1 million profit-making pandemic book — “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” — negotiated and published while he was accused of covering up the total nursing home death toll from the pandemic.
The probes by the feds and the AG’s office are still active.
Last summer, the Biden administration dropped its investigation.
During the Trump administration, the Department of Justice sought information about Cuomo’s coronavirus nursing home order after his administration has repeatedly failed to produce an accurate number of nursing home deaths and covered up the numbers for months. But with Biden in charge, the probe has been dropped.
Janice Dean, a senior meteorologist at Fox News, has been a leading critic of Cuomo after both her in-laws died from the coronavirus in March in assisted living and nursing home facilities in New York. She said this was a backroom political deal.
“There are still ongoing investigations into the nursing home “matters” by the FBI, DOJ Eastern District and AG. This sounds like a little favor from an outgoing Manhattan DA,” she tweeted.
Cuomo is not alone. Four other Democrat governors also ordered nursing homes to take coronavirus patients: New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania and Michigan. These five states have some of the highest nursing home death numbers, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Like so many others, Dean said she wants to know why the governor put vulnerable nursing home patients at risk, why he did not use the other makeshift hospitals for COVID-19 patients instead and why the state still has not released the total number of nursing-home deaths linked to the virus.
“This is not political. It’s about accountability @NYGovCuomo,” she wrote on Twitter. “We won’t stop.”
The New York Times reported April 28 that Cuomo’s aides purposefully prevented state health officials from releasing the true number of nursing home deaths to the public. The effort took place over five months in 2020.