Former Manhattan prosecutor and Sheepshead Bay native Abe George dropped out of the race to become Brooklyn’s next District Attorney. The New York Times is reporting that George endorsed candidate Ken Thompson in hopes that a unified effort could take down Charles J. Hynes, whose office has been plagued with controversy in recent months.
Hynes, who is 78-years-old, has been serving as Brooklyn’s DA since 1990. Recently, he took heat for allowing CBS to film a reality show about his office. Critics charged that the show was going to give him undue free publicity in the heart of election season while also making public sensitive information regarding ongoing cases and investigations. Candidate Abe George went so far as to sue Hynes over the release of the show, charging that it represented nothing more than a glossy political ad, using political connections to make it happen.
Hynes has also taken criticism regarding the handling of sexual abuse cases in the ultra-Orthodox community. On our sister site, Bensonhurst Bean, we tracked a case where the DA’s office prosecuted a whistle-blower, Sam Kellner, who helped police bring down a prominent Jewish cantor who had political ties to the Hynes’ campaign. The case against Kellner is said to have fallen apart due to shoddy evidence and shady witnesses.
While George has fought hard to unseat Hynes, he is now stepping aside and throwing his support fully behind Thompson:
“Brooklyn can’t afford another four years of Joe Hynes, and I realize that in order to defeat Joe Hynes I must put Brooklyn ahead of my own ambitions,” he said. “Today, I am urging all of my supporters to back Ken Thompson for district attorney because together we can begin to clean up the mess Joe Hynes has created in Brooklyn.
“Ken is a man of integrity and justice who will fight to end the pattern of wrongful convictions and prosecutorial misconduct that has tainted the D.A.’s office.”
The Times noted that Thompson has proven to be a stronger candidate than George, citing his experience in high profile cases, his fundraising advantages and local political connections:
Mr. Thompson had already emerged as a more formidable candidate. He is a former federal prosecutor who returned to prominence in 2011 for his representation of Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel housekeeper who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, of sexual assault.
Mr. Thompson has been a strong fund-raiser, with $502,000 in his coffers, trailing Mr. Hynes by about $86,000. And within the last month, Mr. Thompson won the backing of two Brooklyn members of Congress, Representatives Yvette D. Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries, and the city’s biggest union, Local 1199 S.E.I.U., which represents health care workers.