Democratic Assemb. Todd Kaminsky and Republican Christopher McGrath, who are vying to replace former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, on Tuesday released TV ads Tuesday that highlight their respective legal careers.
Kaminsky’s 30-second ad focuses on his career as a federal prosecutor. The spot highlights his prosecution of former State Sen. Pedro Espada (D-Bronx), who was convicted in 2013 of stealing from a health care network that he ran.
The 30-second ad by McGrath, a personal injury attorney and first-time candidate from Hewlett, focuses on his representation of an African American teenager who was assaulted in 1991 by five white men in a racially-motivated attack on the boardwalk in Atlantic Beach.
Alfred Jermaine Ewell, a then-16-year-old star football player at Lawrence High School, was confronted by the men at a party because he was talking to a white female, police said at the time. The men followed Ewell to the boardwalk and beat him with a metal baseball bat, putting him in a coma. The men were convicted of the assault.
McGrath represented Ewell in a successful civil suit against the assailants. “I remember a young man who was scared,” McGrath says in the ad. “He certainly needed somebody who was going to fight for him no matter what.”
Kaminsky’s ad includes images of Skelos and his son, Adam, who were convicted in December of federal corruption charges. Kaminsky was not involved in that case. Dean and Adam Skelos are appealing.
“I didn’t care whether they were Democrat or Republican,” Kaminsky says in the ad. “I cared if they broke the law. It was personal to me. These people were representing our communities; our neighbors.”
With images of Skelos flashing across the screen, Kaminsky blames high taxes and poor government services on “people in Albany looking out for themselves and cutting us out.”
The special election to fill Skelos’ seat is April 19, the day of the New York presidential primary.
Laurence Hirsh, an accountant from Valley Stream, is running on the Green Party line.