Charles Hynes has been Brooklyn District Attorney since 1990, but he may be in the political fight of his life. Up for re-election this fall, Hynes is on the hot seat as he answers questions about wrongful convictions by his office and accusations of illegal detentions of suspects. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Charles Hynes is running for a seventh term as Brooklyn District Attorney.
"I've won a lot of campaigns. And I intend to win this one, too," Hynes said
First, the longtime DA must contend with two Democratic challengers. Ken Thompson is a former federal prosecutor. More recently, he represented the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault.
"We cannot have innocent people going to prison for crimes that they did not commit, and we can't have a DA who seems indifferent to the tens of thousands of young men of color who are being stopped and frisked on the streets of Brooklyn who have done absolutely nothing wrong," Thompson said.
Abe George is a former prosecutor from the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
"When Mr. Hynes started in 1989, I'm sure there was a pep in his step," George said. "But when you are in the same job time in and time out, you don't like to get out of bed. You're like, 'Hey, you know, maybe not today.'"
His competitors are just the beginning of the DA's troubles. There are also questions about the integrity of past convictions.
In March, David Ranta was freed from prison after serving 23 years for a Brooklyn murder he did not commit. The case is prompting the DA's office to review about 50 other murder cases.
Hynes is also fending off accusations that his office held witnesses in hotel rooms against their will.
"We have never held anyone against their will," Hynes said.
Things grew heated at a recent debate.
"I've been criticized by exactly three federal judges in two cases in 24 years as district attorney, and to say otherwise is just a flat-out lie," Hynes said.
Hynes also snapped at one of his opponents.
"I must say how rude you are," he said.
The audience got into the act as well, shouting during the debate.
If the debate is a preview of what's to come, Hynes' re-election bid may be the toughest he's had to face.