Attorney Profile: NY Prosecutor Morgenthau, 89, Will Not Seek Ninth Term

Robert M. Morgenthau announced Friday that he will be retiring.   He told to reporters that it “took me a while…to realize I was getting older.”

“What La Guardia was for mayors, Morgenthau has been for district attorneys,”  says Edward I. Koch (former NYC mayor).  He served for more than fifty years as a federal and a city prosecutor.  In 1961, JFK appointed him as federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York.  Morgenthau is quoted as saying that, “It is an deplorable fact that many businessmen tend to treat more sympathetically the banker guilty of tax fraud, the broker guilty of stock fraude or the accountant who certifies a false balance sheet than the poor man guilty of auto theft or hijacking of a truck.”   Accordingly, he recruited smart, young lawyers to investigate tax evasion and complex securities matters.

Then, in 1969, the Nixon Administation informed him he must step down or be fired.  In 1974, he became the DA for New York.  His office prosecuted the famous Bernie Goetz case (the man who shot three teenagers on the subway when they attempted to rob him – Morgenthau and his office failed to pursuade a grand jury to indict).  He also greatly increased diversity in the DA’s office.

The USA Today reports that the first DA on Law and Order was based on Mr. Morgenthau.

Source: NY Times

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