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Garner case prosecutor to run for Staten Island House seat

Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Jr. is

Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Jr. is seen in Albany on June 11, 2013. Photo Credit: AP

The prosecutor who oversaw the grand jury that decided not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner announced Friday that he is running for U.S. Congress.

Daniel M. Donovan Jr., the Staten Island district attorney, said that he will run for the seat being vacated by disgraced Rep. Michael Grimm, a fellow Republican who pleaded guilty to tax fraud.

Donovan has won three elections as the borough's top prosecutor since 2004. His office convened a special grand jury last year to decide whether to indict Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who put Garner in an apparent chokehold while trying to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes. The decision not to indict Pantaleo set off weeks of street protests.

Through a spokeswoman, Donovan said he would be seeking the Republican, Conservative and Independence party endorsements for the special election for the 11th Congressional District, which covers Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.

Some borough Republicans had been urging Donovan to run since it became clear Grimm was on his way out.

"The enthusiasm for my candidacy has only broadened and intensified, with expressions of support also from beyond the two boroughs," Donovan said in a statement issued by the spokeswoman, Madelaine St. Onge.

But the candidacy could also draw protesters who are still angry over the no-indictment decision by the grand jury Donovan's office led.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has not yet set a date for the special election.

Other names being floated for the seat include Republican Nicole Malliotakis and Democrat Michael Cusick.

Grimm was re-elected in November, despite the looming federal criminal case to which he ultimately pleaded guilty to underreporting earnings of his Manhattan restaurant, evading $1 million in taxes. He faces a 24- to 30-month prison sentence. He resigned earlier this week.

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