Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Conway, now a criminal defense attorney in private practice in Mineola, appears to have eliminated any obstacles to taking the job of Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, a Democrat elected to Congress-- if another Democrat, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, decides to appoint him.
Conway, whose name has cropped up as a possible nominee, moved from Queens to Nassau this summer and changed his registration from Independence Party to Democrat in September, records show. His change in registration became effective after the election.
Cuomo has the power to appoint a replacement for Rice to serve until the next general election. Or he could decide to leave the post vacant and allow Rice's chief deputy to run the office.
Conway has a strong resume. While an assistant U.S. Attorney, he successfully prosecuted Nassau and Suffolk political figures involved in Nassau’s multimillion dollar BPA insurance scandal a decade ago. He served in Brooklyn as a clerk to the late federal judge Mark A. Costantino, a Republican.
Records show Conway's law firm was paid by Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s campaign committee and by the Hicksville Republican Committee, run by Mangano’s chief deputy, Rob Walker. Conway’s law firm also was paid by the campaign committee of former County Executive Tom Suozzi, a Democrat.
Conway could not be reached for comment.
The Nassau Democratic committee this past weekend emailed a Daily News article in which Conway praised the nomination of his former boss, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, for U.S. Attorney General.
Asked if the email was intended to give Conway a boost toward the district attorney appointment, Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said Tuesday. “We’re not necessarily promoting anybody for DA at the moment. He is a person who has been in our circles . . . It demonstrates we have some local connections to the new attorney general."
Jacobs said he had made no decisions and no recommendations to Cuomo. “I am waiting to talk to the governor,” he said. “Sometime I will.”
Jacobs said, “My preference is to coordinate and nominate someone that the governor has selected as his choice to be district attorney” to run in November 2015.