NEW YORK — The Manhattan District Attorney will not bring charges in connection with former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, a lawyer for the embattled ex-gov said Monday.
“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,” said Elkan Abramowitz, a lawyer for Cuomo.
“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.”
A source familiar with the investigation said the decision to not bring charges was made while former Manhattan DA Cy Vance was still in office.
A spokesman for Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, whose first day on the job was Monday, declined to comment. Cuomo declined to comment through a spokesman.
The former governor faced intense scrutiny for a policy early in the pandemic requiring recovering COVID-19 patients to be readmitted to nursing homes and long-term care facilities after being discharged from hospitals.
The policy meant that still-infectious people were being sent back into one of the most vulnerable populations in the state.
Cuomo came under further fire after it emerged his office had undercounted the state’s nursing home death toll by as much as 50%. Cuomo officials conceded in February 2021 that the full count of deaths in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities exceeded 15,000. Previously, the state reported only about 8,500 nursing home deaths.
Former top aide to Cuomo, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to lawmakers that the state withheld numbers fearing political retaliation by then-President Donald Trump.
“In retrospect, we should have prioritized providing more information,” Cuomo said as the scandal escalated.
“No excuses: I accept responsibility for that. I am in charge. I take responsibility. We should have provided more information faster.”
Federal prosecutors and Attorney General Letitia James are still conducting separate probes of Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes.