After 23 years in office, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes may be facing the fight of his political career, but the 77-year-old is showing no signs of backing down. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
It was an impressive display of political might Thursday, as dozens of supporters, representing a diverse Brooklyn, and an array of elected officials turned out to back Charles Hynes, who, in six terms as district attorney, has presided over a precipitous drop in crime.
"We’ve had an extraordinary 87 percent drop in serious crime since 1990," Hynes said.
But it was also a sign that Hynes senses a tough race ahead. Other than 2005, when he barely fended off State Senator John Sampson, he has rarely been threatened.
Now, he's being challenged by Ken Thompson, a former federal prosecutor who more recently represented the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape, and former Manhattan prosecutor Abe George. Both have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“I'm up for the challenge," Hynes said. "We are raising a lot of money. Very, very broad support in Brooklyn. And I think this is a demonstration of the kind of support we have, the diverse support of the entire county."
In a taste of what’s to come, his challengers point to a relatively low felony conviction rate and a string of wrongful convictions.
"We've seen federal judge after federal judge criticize the office. I mean, it's well-documented," Thompson said. "And I believe that after a quarter of a century in office, it's time for a new DA here in Brooklyn."
"We've seen what's happened in the Orthodox community," George said. "We've had a DA that’s not zealously prosecuted child sexual offenders because it cost him votes. And that’s the issue that we’re trying to spread here right in the street."
With no Republicans in the race, that means one of these three men will almost certainly be Brooklyn’s next district attorney. Democratic voters get their say on primary day, currently scheduled for September.