After a brief period of scuttlebutt after the tragic, premature death of trailblazing Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced he will not be appointing anyone to take over the borough's top prosecuting job. Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez will continue to lead the office.
At Thompson's funeral, Cuomo lauded the work he had done in a few short years, including overturning wrongful convictions, "From day one, Ken made it clear that he was going to be a different type of prosecutor. Yes, he was part of the justice system, but he wouldn’t be complicit with the justice system. In fact, he was willing to criticize the system when he believed it was wrong. And he did. Ken believed that the reality of our justice system sometimes didn’t meet the promise of our justice system."
There was speculation in the press about Public Advocate Letitia James being positioned for the role, which would put her in place to run for NY AG later on. But Cuomo said in a statement today:
"While we continue to mourn the loss of District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, the important work of the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office does not cease. District Attorney Thompson worked tirelessly to ensure that the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office worked with a mandate to advance justice and treat everyone and every case fairly and with utmost integrity. We must continue that work without interruption or delay.
“Ken Thompson established a new model at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. 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. 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.”
The next election will be in 2017, with a primary held in September 2017.
Update: Chief Assistant DA Gonzalez issued a statement, "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. 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."