Mud slings in race for Brooklyn District Attorney to the last day

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes is featured here with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. Hynes has held the office for 23 years. Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP
Sitting Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes is featured here with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. Hynes has held the office for 23 years.
Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP

The race for Brooklyn District Attorney has been fraught with accusations of corruption and hypocrisy from the start.

The vitriol only intensified after the primary election, when incumbent Charles Hynes lost to Ken Thompson and opted to switch parties and run on the Republican ticket.

Hynes has been accused of running racist ads, and was quoted at a press conferenced just two weeks ago comparing Thompson, who is black, to a gun dealer, who is also black.

When asked where the gun dealer lived, Hynes laughed and said, “Who are we talking about, my opponent?”

Running on the Republican line, Hynes was also unable to raise the money he vowed he could, raking in only $200,000 after promising to pull in $1 million.

While he steadfastly refused during the primary election to answer questions about who he supported, in accordance with rules barring district attorneys from making endorsements, he appeared at least once at an event with Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson and was later found to have contributed to the Bill Thompson campaign.

Ken Thompson has also pointed repeatedly to claims that Hynes has been lenient with members of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community.

Michael Weinstock, who identified himself as a former employee of Hynes’, insisted in an interview a few weeks ago that is not the case. In fact, he said, Hynes’ ability to make inroads in the somewhat insular Orthodox community has enabled his office to reach victims of such crimes who formerly were afraid to come forward.

“I find it incredibly ironic that he’s been accused of impropriety in the Jewish community because what he did was actually ground-breaking,” said Weinstock, a criminal defense lawyer who credits Hynes with giving him his start at the D.A.’s office. (The D.A.’s office did not respond to requests to confirm that Weinstock was a former employee.) ”Hiring Orthodox Jewish workers and support staff so that he could make inroads, so that phone calls would be returned and witnesses would be cooperative.”

“Before Hynes started this program the victims would immediately become uncooperative and stop returning our phone calls,” Weinstock explained. “Then Mr. Hynes hired Orthodox Jewish social workers.”

“He didn’t make any friends in the Orthodox Jewish community by prosecuting high-profile folks in that community,” he added. “He did it because it was the right thing.”

Ken Thompson has also lashed out at Hynes for recent instances involving convictions by his office being re-opened.

Weinstock said this is also unfair, pointing to a Public Integrity Unit Hynes formed in order to examine such cases.

Weinstock called the two attorneys heading up the unit “two of the most ethical people I’ve ever met.”

“It takes a lot of integrity and a lot of honesty to investigate your own office and investigate mistakes that may have been made years ago,” he insisted.

Weinstock recounted his early days in Hynes’ office, when he said Hynes told him: “You have an enormous responsibility. If you ever learn someone has been put in custody without justification or if a witness changes her tune or his tune… I don’t care if it’s three o’clock in the morning, you do whatever’s necessary. No responsibility is more important than making sure someone doesn’t sit in jail even one hour longer if you believe they don’t belong there.”

But the Hynes campaign has been accused of playing dirty, with ads seemingly disseminated on his behalf that characterizing Thompson supporters as the “minority element,” a phrase that the Ken Thompson campaign has said has racist connotations.

The ad, in Yiddish, has been translated as saying Ken Thompson “attracted the minority element that seeks lawlessness.” Hynes has insisted his campaign did not approve the ads and has said if that translation is accurate he will denounce them.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Many deaths as boat with African emigrants sinks…

BENGHAZI Libya (Reuters) - A boat packed with up to 250 African emigrants trying to reach European shores sank on Sunday off the Libyan coast…

Local

State health department warns against rare respiratory virus…

The New York State Department of Health is calling upon parents to be aware of the symptoms of enterovirus EV-D68. More than 12 children across the…

National

Liberal Vermont Senator Sanders may seek U.S. presidency…

By Will DunhamWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bernie Sanders, one of the Senate's leading liberals, said on Sunday he is thinking about running for U.S. president in…

Money

Second Shift: Turning fun into money

In this week's Second Shift series, meet a New Yorker who has established two successful careers around having fun.

Movies

Dan Stevens kisses Cousin Matthew goodbye

Dan Stevens wanted a change and he certainly got one. After quickly developing a devoted fan base as Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey," the 32-year-old…

Movies

Nerd alert: Genesis Rodriguez, robot-maker

Geeks of the world, you're about to fall in love with Genesis Rodriguez. There's no point in resisting. The actress, appearing in Kevin Smith's totally…

The Word

The Word: Kanye West wants everyone on their…

Maybe we can blame this one on the migraine, too. Kanye West is drawing ire for halting a performance in Sydney when his demands that…

Movies

That's a wrap on TIFF 2014

This year's Toronto International Film Festival closes without the satisfying sense of certainty that had become a mainstay in recent years. Last year, for example,…

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

NFL

Giants vs. Cardinals: 3 things we learned

The Giants heard all week about how ragged their new offense has looked, but even when they finally answered the bell they still can’t find a way to win.

NFL

About a quarter of football players will get…

About one in four National Football League players are likely to end up suffering cognitive impairments during their lifetime, according to a report.

Home

DIY design: Try this upcycle furniture project

Tiffany Threadgould is living a DIY life. The Chief Design Junkie at TerraCycle, an international waste management company headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey, grew up…

Parenting

The downside of a BFF

For teenage girls a best friend can mean everything, but the way they deal with their problems together can lead to depression

Education

How many colleges should I apply to? Your…

To the average high school senior, creating the perfect college application can seem like a golden ticket into their future. Students and their parents spend…

Career

How Generation Z will change the way Americans…

What to learn how to establish a career in this new economy? Look no further than the current generation of young people - that is,…