What Makes the Brooklyn DA Seat So Hot?

By Simone Weichselbaum (NY Daily News)
February 20, 2013

One caught the eye of a Hollywood script writer. Another met his connection to an A-list actor as a college kid working in the mailroom at the United Nations. And the incumbent’s longtime political career attracted one of the city’s most outspoken real estate developers.

These are the connections behind the money in the the Brooklyn district attorney’s race, quickly becoming one of the city’s most high-profile.

“Good for them for having relationships with people who have big check books,” said well-known defense attorney Arthur Aidala, whose most recent contribution to Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes include $1,000 from his firm and $600 from himself.

“The Brooklyn district attorney is the chief law enforcement officers,” said Aidala. “The better Brooklyn is doing, the better the whole city is doing. And it is up to the chief law enforcement officer to make sure that happens.”

Experts say law enforcment issues such as stop and frisk and marijuana decriminalization have put the race in the limelight - resulting in donor lists that read like casting call for a blockbuster film.

Comedian Chris Rock gave former federal prosecutor Ken Thompson $5,000 in November, records showed. And actor Denzel Washington’s wife, Pauletta wrote a check for $500, meeting Thompson through high profile Flatlands pastor A.R. Bernard.

Actor Chris Noth gave $10,000 in January to help former Manhattan assistant district attorney Abe George’s bid for office.

Donald Trump gave $2,500 in July to Hynes, who is seeking a seventh term as Brooklyn’s top law enforcer.

“Chris loves Brooklyn. I love Brooklyn. Ken loves Brooklyn. The connection was a no-brainer,” said Mikal Waters, a 911-operator instructor in Los Angeles, who met Thompson during a college job at the UN and was a childhood friend of Rock’s growing up on Decatur St. in Bedford Stuyvesant.

“I would imagine anyone who is connected to the race is someone whose heartstrings are connected to Brooklyn,” Waters said.

It was the politics of a Brooklyn murder that drew filmmaker Holt McCallany to the borough - along with a contribution of $5400 to George and an introduction to Noth.

“I like a long shot,” said Noth explaining his interest in George, the least known of the hopefuls. “Good people in politics are hard to find.”

McCallany, who is writing a made-for-television script called “Mother Justice” about Kensington mother Doreen Giuliano who changed her identity and dated a juror from her son’s 2003 murder trial, said he became disenchanted with Hynes as he dug into the case..

“The more research I did, the more I understood how Charles Hynes’ office operates,” said McCallany, who also pointed to George’s low profile as the reason for his support.

“Brooklyn is a rapidly changing borough,” said McCallany. “It is sophisticated. It is cosmopolitan. It is not the same place when Charles Hynes took office over twenty years ago.”

The usually loudmouth Trump wrote a big check, but would only say this when asked why he was supporting Hynes: “I think he is doing a great job.”