The collapse of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s case against French banker and politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn has focused attention on Vance’s competence.
Vance’s record is certainly unimpressive. On his watch, two cops who raped a woman were able to walk, the families of firefighters were denied justice when Vance couldn’t get a jury to convict in the Deutsch Bank Building case, and a wealthy Egyptian businessman who sexually assaulted a maid was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and was given an unconditional discharge. Vance couldn’t even get a maximum terrorism charge to stick against two Islamic extremists who were caught buying guns and explosives to, as they put it, “bomb synagogues and kill Jews.” His certainty in the Strauss-Kahn case evaporated and his head of the Sex Crimes Unit was fired, even though the Strauss-Kahn case had been taken away from her.
Manhattan DAs are national figures, but Vance isn’t ready for prime time. He has repeatedly rushed to judgment in key cases in order to get good headlines. In the process, he has alienated his one-time mentor and supporter, Robert Morgenthau, who was Manhattan’s DA for 35 years.
Vance would have the public believe that he is simply an unbiased officer of the court. The truth is that he uses his prosecutorial discretion to curry favor with New York’s liberal elite.
In January, Kelli Conlin, the then-executive director of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), abruptly resigned from the post she’d held for 18 years. Less than a month later it was revealed that Conlin was forced out of her post by the NARAL board after a forensic audit completed last December showed Conlin had engaged in high financial misconduct with NARAL credit cards from 2008 to 2010 and “perhaps even longer.” These charges included $5,709 worth of high-end clothing at Giorgio Armani and Barney’s, a $17,000 reimbursement on a Hamptons summer rental where Conlin stayed in the summer of 2009, $100,000 on car service from March 2008 and December 2010 and $22,000 on meals. Conlin made these illegal charges while also earning $309,000 in 2009, including a bonus of $90,000.
On June 23rd, Vance allowed Conlin to enter a guilty plea after being charged with only one count of falsifying business records. The deal ensures that Conlin won’t face any jail time.
Vance did not disappoint his feminist backers with this expedited Conlin deal. Consider that less than five months after exercising jurisdiction over Conlin’s case publicly, Vance allowed Conlin to not only avoid going to jail but also to avoid paying restitution for the fraudulent charges she made between 2008 and 2010. And this quick exercise was all done with Conlin admitting in court that in July 2009 she submitted a $30,000 bill for a summer rental in the Hamptons on Long Island, when the actual cost of the rental was $17,000.
Vance must be either biased or inept. His questionable public prosecution of John Haggerty Jr., the ultra-talented, well-respected New York Republican operative who has been charged with violating election laws, suggests that he is biased. Vance alleges that Haggerty stole $1.1 million from the New York Independence Party. Virtually every respected election law lawyer in New York believes that Haggerty didn’t violate election laws, though New York’s tabloids have already found him guilty.
Vance said he brought the prosecution after “reading about it in The New York Post.” Funny, Vance has also read about Charlie Rangel’s three rent-controlled apartments and the false statements he filed to get them, but Vance has yet to prosecute Rangel. Of course, Vance needs the support of Charlie and the Harlem machine, so he’ll let Rangel break the law with impunity.
There must be a reason why high-profile Democrats are walking while Haggerty is facing criminal charges for supposedly committing a crime that none of the allegedly injured parties has filed a complaint about.
Roger Stone is a well-known Republican political consultant and is a veteran of eight national Republican presidential campaigns. He’s also the men’s fashion correspondent for The Daily Caller and editor of Stonezone.com.