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Gov. Cuomo won’t be appointing a new district attorney in Brooklyn

Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez to remain in charge until Nov. 2017 election

October 17, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Gov. Cuomo announced that he will not appoint a new district attorney in Brooklyn and will allow Eric Gonzalez to remain in charge of the office until next year’s election. Gonzalez is pictured here with Michael Farkas (left), president of the Kings County Criminal Bar Association. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that he will not be replacing the late Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; he will leave Chief Assistant DA Eric Gonzalez in charge of the post until the November 2017 election.

“Ken Thompson established a new model at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office,” Cuomo said in a statement. “His focus on proving innocence as well as proving guilt set a new precedent. His legacy should be the continuation of that model and his selection of the person who should run the office in his absence — his number two — should be honored.

“Today I am announcing that no appointment will be made to fill the rest of District Attorney Thompson’s term,” Cuomo stated. “Until the next election, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office will continue to be led by Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, who District Attorney Thompson named earlier to continue his office’s work in his absence. Keeping the first deputy in place when there is mid-term vacancy by a District Attorney is consistent with past practice under this administration.”

“I am deeply honored to be able to carry out District Attorney Thompson’s vision of equal justice for all in Brooklyn, and I pledge to continue his criminal justice reforms,” Gonzales said in a statement following Cuomo’s announcement. “I am fully committed to the important initiatives that we have put in place and will work every day to keep the people of Brooklyn safe. I thank Governor Cuomo for having the faith in me to carry on the important work of this Office.”

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Thompson, who died on Oct. 9, had announced that Gonzalez would take his place if he had to take any absences related to his cancer treatment or recovery. After the DA passed away, there was much speculation as to who would take over — would Cuomo leave Gonzalez in the position or replace him? Many reports tabbed Public Advocate Letitia James as the frontrunner, but a few legal organizations, including the Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA), the Puerto Rican Bar Association and the Dominican Bar Association, supported Thompson’s pick.

“As we and so many stakeholders in the Brooklyn criminal justice community urged him to do, Governor Cuomo has made the exact right choice for the people of our great borough,” said KCCBA President Michael Farkas following the announcement. “We are so fortunate to have such an experienced and highly regarded career prosecutor to lead the DA’s Office during this very difficult time. The Criminal Bar looks forward to working closely with Eric Gonzalez while honoring the late DA Thompson’s commitment to justice.”

After the decision was announced on Monday, Arthur Aidala, the immediate past president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, said that “the Kings County legal community and the residents of Brooklyn applaud the Governor’s decision to name Eric Gonzalez the acting District Attorney. DA Gonzalez will ensure that the level of professionalism that our citizens deserve will continue and that the initiatives that DA Thompson put in place will live on.”

Gonzalez is expected to hold the office at least until next year’s election in November. There is no word yet on whether or not he plans to run in that election.

The full letter from Farkas can be viewed by clicking on the PDF link found below.


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