Justice Department says it will not investigate Covid-19 nursing home deaths in several states

(CNN) The Department of Justice will not open a civil investigation into the Covid-19 response in state nursing homes in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan, after the department was seeking to determine whether policies issued during the pandemic requiring Covid-19 patients to be admitted into the facilities may have contributed to deaths.

The announcement in a letter sent to GOP Rep. Steve Scalise prompted swift outrage from him and other Republicans who have accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, of covering up Covid-19-related deaths in nursing homes in his state. Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing, but the state’s handling of the data surrounding deaths in long-term care facilities has been the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation by the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

In a letter on Friday that was obtained by CNN, the Justice Department said it “decided not to open a CRIPA (Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act) investigation of any public nursing facility within New York, Pennsylvania, or Michigan at this time” after reviewing information provided by the states and other available information.

The Justice Department confirmed it opened an investigation in October 2020 into two facilities in New Jersey.

A Justice Department spokeswoman told CNN the department would not comment beyond what is in the letter. Cuomo’s office declined to comment to CNN, and messages left with the other governors’ offices were not immediately returned Saturday.

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