David Boies puts his money on a liberal challenger to Joe Hynes
The donation is just below the maximum allowed by New York State contribution law. It is striking, since most district attorneys go unchallenged, or face nominal opponents who struggle to get major financing from the political or legal worlds. Boies, who argued for gay rights before the United States Supreme Court and is currently representing Maurice (Hank) Greenberg in his suit against the federal government, is a pretty big deal in both.
George predicted in a brief interview that Boies' contribution would trigger many other new donations and supporters.
"I think a lot of people who are activists and are liberally minded and will take a second look at our campaign," George said.
He called it "a game-changer," and said other lawyers had expressed reservations to him about appearing in a public disclosure report funding an opponent of a sitting district attorney.
George said his got in touch with Boies though a lawyer at Boies' firm, and gave him a comprehensive pitch about the need for a new district attorney in Brooklyn.
Topics included the borough's "wrongful convictions, gun violence, stop-and-frisk, marijuana [arrests]" and others issues. "Four weeks later, I got a check for $45,000," George recalled.
The campaign is expected to disclose next week that it has raised just under $200,000 so far.
George's campaign has also hired Kristie Stiles, an experienced fund-raiser who has worked with David Paterson, Eliot Spitzer and many other Democrats. The campaign is alo picking up Matthew Cowherd, a lawyer and member of the progressive New Kings Democrat, as a senior adviser.
New Kings Democrats were formed in the wake of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and have acted as reliable opposition to the Kings County Democratic Committee, which is expected to support Hines.
George said having Boies and Cowherd is helping to establish him as the leading progressive challenger to Hynes.
Also considering a run for Brooklyn District Attorney is Ken Thompson, the attorney who represented the hotel worker who accused the then-managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominque Strauss-Kahn, of rape. The Manhattan district attorney dropped the case against Strauss-Kahn.
Hynes is seeking his seventh term as Brooklyn's district attorney.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this item incorrectly stated $45,000 was the largest contribution allowed under state law. For the primary, it is slightly higher.