Former Executive Counsel: Manhattan DA’s nursing home probe finds no evidence Cuomo admin broke law

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC/AP) — The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office concluded there was no evidence former Gov. Andrew Cuomo broke the law when his administration allegedly released misleading numbers on the amount of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, his former attorney said Monday.

Elkan Abramowitz, the former outside counsel for the Executive Chamber said in a statement that the head of the DA’s the head of the Elder Care Unit told him it closed its investigation.

The statement reads:

“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 Cuomo administration is accused of having aides withhold the true number of nursing home residents who died during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic until the summer of 2020, after his book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic", came out.

A report by the New York State Attorney General’s Office released last January revealed that the nursing home deaths were undercounted by as much as 50% and that initial New York State Department of Health data did not reflect nursing home residents who were transferred into a hospital before they died.

The State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) retroactively rescinded its approval of Cuomo’s book back in November.

JCOPE also attempted to seize the $5.1 million he made from the book in December, but New York Attorney General Letitia James’s Office said the commission would need to take more steps before it would get involved in trying to collect the money.

James’s office said JCOPE would need to produce an investigative report, outlining which laws were violated and what sums and penalties it was seeking and document any communications it had with Cuomo or his lawyers about the order, and then show it had exhausted efforts to collect the debt.

Cuomo had been granted approval for his book deal in July 2020 by the commission’s staff, after his lawyer said he would not use any state personnel or resources to produce his book and that he would write it "entirely on his own time."

There are also allegations that Cuomo had aides work on the book on paid time that were outlined in the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee impeachment report. Cuomo’s legal team has denied those allegations, claiming that the aides volunteered their time to work on the book.

Cuomo is due in court in Albany on Friday a criminal summons for misdemeanor forcible touching was filed back in October. That charge stems from accusations from a former aide that Cuomo reached under her shirt and grabbed her breast in the governor’s mansion.

Cuomo and his legal team have repeatedly denied that the former governor did that.

The governor was originally due in court in November, but it was pushed back to Jan. 7.