Governor will not replace temporary DA

Governor will not replace temporary DA
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Brooklyn District Attorney’s office

The handpicked successor of late District Attorney Ken Thompson will remain in the post until Thompson’s term ends at the close of 2017, Gov. Cuomo announced today. Thompson named his No. 2, Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, as the borough’s top prosecutor in his absence on Oct. 4 — less than a week before he succumbed to colon cancer. Cuomo has the power to appoint a replacement, but has opted to leave the reins with Gonzalez.

“While we continue to mourn the loss of District Attorney Thompson, the important work of the Brooklyn’s DA office does not cease. Until the next election, the Brooklyn DA’s Office will continue to be led by Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez,” Cuomo tweeted on Monday.

The Governor’s announcement comes after rumors that three women — Public Advocate Tish James, former prosecutor Ann Swern, and former Commissioner on Human Rights Patricia Gatling — were all vying for the for a gubernatorial appointment to the seat.

Gonzalez is a native Brooklynite and previously served as the borough’s trial bureau chief in Flatbush, Sunset Park, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, and Coney Island. He joined the District Attorney’s office in 2011 and was named chief assistant in the fall of 2014.

Thompson made a name for himself overturning false convictions rendered under previous prosecutor Charles Hynes. Advocates have expressed concern that whoever replaces Thompson would not take up that mantle, but the district attorney’s office credits Gonzalez with helping Thompson launch the so-called Conviction Review Unit.

“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,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

The office will not say whether he will seek reelection next year.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.