Manhattan will have a new top prosecutor at work on New Year’s Day, when alvin bragg Took over for outgoing District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
During his 12 years at the helm of the powerful office, Vance, 67, oversaw major cases and investigations, including the Harvey Weinstein trial and the ongoing investigation into the Trump Organization.
But Vance, who chose not to seek re-election in 2021, has also been mired in controversy, with critics accusing his office of passing off the rich and famous defendants.
Don’t miss: Trump sues New York State Attorney General Letitia James, seeking to halt his investigation into their businesses
Here’s a look at some of the biggest hits and misses of Vance’s tenure:
Harvey Weinstein: Vance will probably be best remembered for the historic #MeToo case that saw the powerful filmmaker convicted of rape and sexual assault In February 2020. Weinstein, 69, was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
The career-defining victory, however, came after Weinstein’s office reportedly refused to prosecute Weinstein in 2015. Groping Model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez,
officers of vance The decision faced criticism The film mogul admitted to molesting the then-22-year-old model in a secret recording set up by the NYPD as part of its investigation to spare Weinstein after a New Yorker revelations in 2017.
report of that year campaign donation The question posed to Vance by defense attorneys with links to Weinstein raised more questions. But Vance said the campaign’s funds had nothing to do with his decision – and said the case was not proven.
Weinstein’s lawyers Attempt to reverse the sentence of 2020, and an appellate court is expected to decide on the matter in January.
Ethan Patz: Vance, who had promised to deal with cold cases in his post, Pedro Hernandez was successfully prosecuted For one of the most infamous unsolved crimes in New York history in 2017 – the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Ethan Patz.
In remarks to the New York City Bar Association on December 14, Vance looked to his time as district attorney and made special mention of the kidnapped and killed boy’s case. “When I think about all the thousands of cases we’ve handled over the past 12 years, I keep returning to Ethan Patz and his family,” he said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
“Because of the unmatched talent of our staff, we were able to solve one of the city’s most infamous and initially unsolved crimes. … For Ethan and his family, our prosecutors never gave up.”
Hernandez was convicted by jury in her second trial – her first in 2015 ended in a hung jury.
Dominic Strauss-Kahn: In 2011, just two years after being elected to his first term, Vance caught heat for dropping charges against Dominic Strauss-Kahn, then head of the International Monetary Fund, at the Sofitel New York Hotel in Midtown. Was accused of raping a maid.
The French financier admitted to the encounter but said the sex was consensual. Three months after his arrest, A judge raised the allegation Strauss-Kahn, which raised concerns about the credibility of accuser Nafisato Diallo.
While Vance was initially slammed in the media over the fall of the case, his decision was supported by several prominent New Yorkers, including then-Mayor Michael Businesshala and Vance’s predecessor, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.
Jeffrey Epstein: Before the 2019 arrest and subsequent death behind bars of the powerfully convicted pedophile on federal sex-trafficking charges, Vance’s office was wrapped up in the Epstein saga.
From the Archives (August 2019): Jeffrey Epstein was left unsupervised in the cell for hours, the guard was a fill-in
Also (August 2019): The guards where Jeffrey Epstein died were working excessively due to lack of staff
Key words (October 2019): Expert on Jeffrey Epstein’s Death: ‘I Haven’t Seen in 50 Years Where This Happened to Suicide’
In 2011, a prosecutor for Vance’s sex-crime unit argued forcefully in court that Epstein — who had been convicted of soliciting an underage prostitute in Florida — had to bring his sex-offender status to the lowest level in New York. should be reduced to
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a shocking request in 2018. The district attorney’s office said Vance “didn’t know” about the hearing until years later and had nothing to do with it.
Robert Hayden: In 2016, Vance’s office settled a widely banned petition It allowed Haiden, a leading gynecologist, to escape prison after being accused of sexually abusing six patients.
The deal angered dozens of victims who came forward – including former presidential candidates Andrew Yang’s wifeEvelyn Yang, who has said she was sexually assaulted by a former New York-Presbyterian Hospital doctor in 2012, when she was pregnant with their first child.
Some of those calls came from a dozen city council women who called on Manhattan’s top prosecutor for “failing to survive and fight against the rich, white and powerful men who committed countless sexual assaults.”
He notably dealt with the Epstein and Weinstein cases singled out by him.
In a recent interview with the associated press, Vance said his office has prosecuted many people of “power and authority” – and taken on thousands of sex offenses cases.
He said his attorney always “strives to get the right results”, while noting that he hired an outside consultant to oversee how the sex-crime bureau operates.
As district attorney, Vance targeted sex trafficking, and prostitution trial ended And unlicensed massage. He too dedicated $38 million to help eliminate the backlog of rape kits nationwide—an initiative that earned them praise from the “Law & Order: SVU” star Mariska Hargitay:,
Malcolm X: The Conviction Integrity Program, created by Vance in 2010, re-investigated cases of wrongful convictions, including Malcolm X Massacre,
Last month, Vance went to court to clear the name A review of 83-year-old Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam found they had wrongfully spent decades in prison for the 1965 murder of a civil rights leader.
Read (November 2021): 2 convicted of killing Malcolm X in 1965 to be acquitted
Donald Trump: In August 2019, Vance summoned several years’ worth of Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns, setting off a legal battle with the former president that went all the way to the Supreme Court.
Vance’s office eventually won the record through a High Court ruling and obtained the material this year.
Vance accused the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Alan Weiselberg, of tax fraud last June, in an investigation the former commander-in-chief has blasted as a “witch victim.”
Another grand jury was convened by Vance, but no other charges have yet been brought. His successor, Bragg, a fellow Democrat, will inherit the investigation.
Read (June 2021): Trump called the New York investigation ‘vulgar, shoddy’ and reportedly leveled charges against his company and its CFO a day away