New York Post
FEDS DROP CUOMO PROBE
DOJ action outrages families, politicians
President Biden’s Department of Justice has decided not to open a probe into whether the civil rights of residents in New York’s government-run nursing homes were violated by the policies of Gov. Cuomo during the worst days of the pandemic. The decision shocked and angered many politicians and still-grieving families of residents who died from COVID-19. One New Yorker whose mother died in agony in a nursing home said, “My heart is broken all over again.”
I will continue to fight for the families who lost loved ones because of the cruelty and corruption of our Governor.
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
The Department of Justice has decided not to investigate whether the civil rights of residents in New York’s government-run nursing homes were violated by Gov. Cuomo’s controversial policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter Friday, the DOJ’s Office of Legislative Affairs told US Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), ranking member of that House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, that New York was off the hook in connection with potential violations of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA).
In August, the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division requested information from New York in connection with a March 25, 2020, order from the state Department of Health that required nursing homes to admit “medically stable” COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals.
It also sought records from Pennsylvania, Michigan and
New Jersey, which adopted similar rules and which the DOJ said “may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”
“We have reviewed the information provided by these states along with additional information available to the Department,” US Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joe Gaeta wrote Friday.
“Based on that review, we have decided not to open a CRIPA investigation of any public nursing facility within New York, Pennsylvania or Michigan at this time.”
In a prepared statement, Scalise called it “outrageous that the Department of Justice refuses to investigate the deadly ‘must admit’ orders issued by governors in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan that resulted in the deaths of thousands of senior citizens.”
“Where is the justice for nursing home victims and their grieving families? These deadly orders contradicted the CDC’s guidance, and needlessly endangered the most vulnerable among us to the deadly COVID-19 virus,” Scalise said.
“Even worse, Governor Cuomo in New York intentionally tried to cover up the true death toll resulting from his mandate. Grieving families deserve answers and accountability. It’s unconscionable that Biden’s Department of Justice refuses to investigate the deadly actions that went against CDC’s medical guidance taken in these states.”
Cuomo is still facing a potentially more serious probe by the FBI and the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office that was sparked by The Post’s revelation that a top aide privately admitted that the administration covered up the total number of nursing home residents killed by the coronavirus.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said, “This decision from President Biden’s Department of Justice makes President Biden complicit in the criminal corruption scandal and cover-up of deaths of thousands of vulnerable seniors.”
“New Yorkers deserve answers and accountability. I was the first member of Congress to call for an investigation into Governor Cuomo’s corrupt criminal coverup and I will continue to fight for the families who lost loved ones because of the cruelty and corruption of our Governor,” she added.
Haydee Pabey, whose mom died of COVID-19 in a Manhattan nursing home, said. “My heart is broken all over again.”
“The Justice Department turned its back on seniors who died. The Justice Department covered up the cover-up,” Pabey said. “I do believe this is political. Biden doesn’t want to shed a negative light on Cuomo, the Democrats and the Democratic Party. He’s trying to sweep this under the rug.”
Cuomo’s administration hasn’t received formal notification regarding Friday’s letter to Scalise, but was told by the DOJ that it’s not being investigated in connection with about 30 public nursing homes, according to a source familiar with the matter.
A Cuomo spokesman declined to comment.