DA Under Fire in Flailing Case of Strauss-Kahn

DA office plagued by poor morale, infighting, say critics
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2011 6:05 AM CDT
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., has come under fire for several high-profile losses and, critics say, a troubled office fraught with infighting.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(Newser) – The meltdown of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case is shining a spotlight on Cyrus Vance Jr, the Manhattan district attorney, and the results aren't pretty. In the 18 months Vance has been DA, the Manhattan office has gone from being the pre-eminent DA's office in the country to being ridden with infighting, poor morale, and poor relations with the police, reports the New York Times. Critics charge that Vance micromanages and has driven off key prosecutors assembled by his predecessor.

Robert Morgenthau led the DA's office for 35 years and helped Vance get elected, but today Morgenthau rarely talks to him. Several high-profile losses, including a failed rape case against two NYC cops, now have many questioning Vance. “What’s most curious is hearing the line prosecutors saying early on that they had a strong case, a very strong case,” said one defense attorney. “Obviously, they hadn’t looked very hard." Others are more forgiving: Eliot Spitzer, who worked for Morgenthau, contends that Vance responded properly when he knew his case was flawed. “It’s impossible at first to push back against stories like this,” says Spitzer.

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