A letter written by one of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s lawyers reveals that despite his resignation from office, he is still being pursued by six ongoing investigations.
The editorial board of the New York Daily News published a 61-page letter that Cuomo’s lawyer wrote in late July to ask the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney not to proceed with an investigation into the omission of nursing home death data attributable to COVID-19.
The letter made clear what investigations the Cuomo administration has against him.
The Cuomo Executive Chamber received subpoenas from New York Attorney General Letitia James regarding the Governor’s book and COVID priority testing; it received subpoenas from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office regarding the nursing home case. The New York State Assembly is keeping the impeachment investigation ongoing, and the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics is investigating both the priority evidence and the resources used to publish the governor’s book.
In his letter, attorney Elkan Abramowitz argues that the federal investigation was initiated by the Trump administration with political motives, and notes that Cuomo’s decision not to include the numbers of deceased seniors in state nursing homes was a discretionary public policy decision, permissible for a state government.
“Simply put, we believe that New York state’s executive branch and its employees acted within their authority in the face of an unprecedented crisis and there is no possible criminal liability for any member of the Executive Chamber relating to these issues,” Abramowitz wrote.
The New York Times reported that as Cuomo sought a publishing deal for the book in the summer of 2020 (which ultimately raised $5.1 million), Cuomo’s aides removed higher nursing home death figures from a state Department of Health report.
Hochul apologizes for Cuomo’s mistakes
Current New York Governor Kathy Hochul (who replaced Cuomo after his resignation) held a closed-door meeting with family members of deceased seniors in nursing homes in the state and apologized to them for the pain caused by the previous administration.
The families, led by Assemblyman Ron Kim, presented the governor with a list of demands including elder care reforms, and that the state takes responsibility for its controversial directive.
The group called for the state to announce that the Department of Health’s March 25, 2020 mandate regarding nursing homes admitting coronavirus patients had “led to thousands of untimely and unnecessary deaths.”
Now Cuomo’s future is uncertain and not at all encouraging. He will have to deal with at least 6 investigations against him and even a criminal complaint related to sexual harassment that, if confirmed, could put him behind bars.