The Manhattan district attorney closed an investigation into how former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo handled COVID-19 in nursing homes, reports the Wall Street Journal. Defense attorney Elkan Abramowitz, who served as outside counsel for Cuomo, said he was told by the head of the district attorney’s elder-care unit that "there was no evidence to suggest that any laws were broken.” Cuomo, a Democrat, resigned in August amid an impeachment inquiry and a report substantiating multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Cuomo said he never touched anybody inappropriately, and the investigations into his conduct were politically motivated. The Manhattan investigation was one of several probes into the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights unit first requested death data from state-run nursing homes in August 2020, and another DOJ division expanded the probe to private nursing homes. In February of last year, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn sought nursing-home death data as part of a criminal probe. At the root of New York’s nursing-home crisis was a March 25, 2020, state Health Department directive that said nursing homes couldn’t refuse to admit a resident who tested positive for COVID-19. Nursing-home officials warned that the move could endanger residents. State officials then withheld data on the full number of COVID-19 deaths among nursing-home residents, and aides to Cuomo successfully pushed to use a lower tally in a Health Department report. Republican and Democratic lawmakers criticized Cuomo for suppressing the death toll while negotiating a $5.1 million contract to write a memoir about his experiences during the pandemic.
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