The estate of former Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller is not financially responsible for deaths that occurred during the uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in 1971, a federal judge ruled Friday.
The decision was a blow to the families of Attica inmates, who filed a $2-billion lawsuit against state officials. The suit has prevented Rockefeller’s heirs from inheriting an estate worth more than $66 million.
Although he gave state police the go-ahead to forcefully retake the prison on Sept. 13, 1971, Rockefeller cannot be held legally responsible for the 39 deaths that resulted from the assault, U.S. District Judge John Elfvin said.
Former state Corrections Commissioner Russell Oswald, former state police officials and New York National Guard officials remain defendants in the lawsuit.