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Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson announces he has cancer

Borough’s top lawman vows to ‘Fight and win the battle against this disease’

October 4, 2016 By James Harney Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson.  Photo by Rob Abruzzese
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Professionally, he leads the borough’s fight against crime; but Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson announced this week that he’s personally involved in a fight against cancer.

Thompson, 50, revealed Tuesday that he’s been diagnosed with the disease, but did not specify what type of cancer he has. When he is absent for treatments and recovery, Chief Assistant DA Eric Gonzalez will run the office Thompson has led for three years.

“As Brooklyn District Attorney, I’ve dedicated myself and our office’s resources over the past three years to keeping the people of our great borough safe while strengthening our commitment to reform and improve our criminal justice  system,” Thompson said in a statement.  “Since 2014, we have become a model for prosecutors’ offices around the country — holding those who break the law accountable by setting one standard of justice for all and fighting for innocent people who were wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit.

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“And now I am prepared for another fight,” his statement continued.

“Recently, I was diagnosed with cancer. As a man of intense faith, I intend to fight and win the battle against this disease. I humbly seek your sincere prayers as I confront this challenge and respectfully ask that you honor my family’s need and wish for privacy during this time.”

He concluded his statement by saying, “I thank you in advance for your prayers and look forward to rejoining you on the battlefield of justice.”

A former federal prosecutor, Thompson defeated longtime Brooklyn DA Charles (Joe) Hynes by a landslide in 2013 following a hard-fought, sometimes acrimonious campaign. Hynes was the first Brooklyn DA to lose a reelection bid since 1911.

After taking the helm as DA, Thompson formed one of the largest units in the country assigned to re-investigating the validity of past cases. Since then, his office has overturned 21 wrongful convictions.

Expressions of support from leading officials in the borough came quickly after Thompson’s cancer diagnosis announcement, led by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who issued this statement:

“Brooklynites have been privileged to have a fighter like Ken Thompson as the chief law enforcement officer in our borough. He is a tireless champion for justice, and his work has directly aided our shared mission to make Brooklyn a safer place to raise healthy children and families. I have no doubt that District Attorney Thompson will fight cancer with the same conviction and vigor that he has displayed his entire career. I pray for him and his family at this challenging hour, with hope and optimism for the future we will enjoy together.”

Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, sent this message.

“For as long as I have known and worked with Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, he has always displayed incredible strength and determination. There is no one better suited to overcome this challenge, and the Brooklyn Chamber and I are here to assist him and his staff in any way possible. Our thoughts and prayers are with District Attorney Thompson and his family.”

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