When the new Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson arrived at his offices on New Year’s Day, he was confronted bags of shredded documents, sources close to Mr. Thompson told the Observer earlier this month.
Mr. Thompson himself declined to comment on the June report, but the district attorney confirmed to Inside City Hall host Errol Louis last night that his controversial predecessor had indeed shredded countless documents, some of which may have been pertinent case files.
“You came in on your first day and saw bags of shredded documents all over the office. True?” Mr. Louis asked Mr. Thompson.
“True,” Mr. Thompson replied.
“Why would anybody shred documents?” Mr. Louis then asked.
“You have to ask them. I mean, I came there and it was bags of shredded documents. Maybe they just were trying to spring clean for me before I got there as a new D.A.,” Mr. Thompson said with a slight smile.
Mr. Louis noted that the files may have had digital counterparts and therefore Charles Hynes, the former district attorney, was not trying to cover anything up.
“Well, we’ll find out,” Mr. Thompson said cryptically.
A source close to Mr. Thompson, however, insisted that the new district attorney was deeply troubled when he saw the bags of documents lining his conference room.
“It was absolute chaos. There were literally bags of shredded documents everywhere. Contents unknown. Hynes and his henchmen just arbitrarily shredded documents,” the source said. “Hynes basically did everything he could to make Ken Thompson’s life a living hell.”
Mr. Hynes, already under fire for a spate of wrongful conviction cases, may soon face criminal charges on unrelated matters. A Department of Investigation probe revealed that Mr. Hynes may have used public funds to pay a consultant more than $200,000 and found that Mr. Hynes may have also been illegally using office resources to help coordinate his failed re-election bid. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is looking into possible criminal charges against Mr. Hynes.
Mr. Thompson defeated Mr. Hynes in a nasty Democratic primary and general election last year. After Mr. Hynes, a Democrat, lost to Mr. Thompson in this primary, he surprised many and continued his bid in the general election on the Republican line.
Mr. Thompson trounced Mr. Hynes in November and became the first candidate in decades to topple a sitting district attorney in New York City.