Manhattan prosecutors will not charge former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in connection with former office’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Empire State nursing homes, his lawyer said.
“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,” Cuomo’s attorney Elkan Abramowitz wrote in a statement. “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.”
In response to Law&Crime’s press inquiry, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment.
Unrelated to his sexual misconduct scandal, Cuomo has been dogged by allegations that his office undercounted nursing home deaths from COVID-19 by “as much as 50 percent,” according to the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James (D). James’s report included a section whose title flatly declared: “At Least 4,000 Nursing Home Residents Died After DOH’s March 25 Guidance on Admission Practices.”
The way Cuomo’s administration counted nursing home deaths captured the attention of state and federal investigators, as well as the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee. Before its impeachment investigation was preempted by Cuomo’s resignation, Assembly investigators looked into sexual harassment claims against Cuomo and the nursing home matters. The latter was particularly embarrassing for the former governor in light of his once-highly celebrated leadership during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
In Oct. 2020, Cuomo published his book this period of his career, titled American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The committee found that in writing this book, Cuomo violated state guidelines requiring that no state property or personnel be used for activities associated with the book.
Cuomo “utilized the time of multiple state employees, as well as his own, to further his personal gain during a global pandemic – a time during which the former Governor touted the ‘around-the-clock’ state response to the crisis,” the report found on Nov. 22, 2021, pointing out that Cuomo made millions as a result.
The ex-governor received a $5.1 million advance on his book, despite claiming that his income from the book depended on its sales, according to the committee. Just recently, Cuomo’s book windfall suffered a major setback when a state ethics board gave him 30 days to relinquish the earnings.
The committee found that Cuomo and his then-senior staff were “not fully transparent with the public” on the matter of nursing home deaths.
“The Committee is cooperating with law enforcement with respect to these issues,” the report read.
Over in Westchester County, District Attorney Mimi Rocah (D) announced just before the new year that Cuomo would not be charged for allegations that he kissed two women on the cheek without their consent. She found that the alleged conduct did not meet the statutory requirements rising to criminal acts. A similar announcement was made in Nassau County.
Decade-long Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance (D) just ended his tenure as New York County’s top prosecutor. He is replaced on the new year by Alvin Bragg (D), whose swearing in ceremony took place on New Year’s Day. Bragg is the fourth Manhattan DA in the last 80 years, and he made history as the first Black person to be elected for that office.
Marisa Sarnoff contributed to this report.
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