Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance on Friday officially announced that he will not seek reelection.
The high-profile prosecutor who's currently investigating former President Donald Trump's taxes and finances said his third term in office, which ends on Dec. 31, will be his last, but "that doesn't mean the work stops."
In a memo to the Office's prosecutors and staff, the 66-year-old said he never imagined being in the position for decades like his predecessors.
"I said twelve years ago that change is fundamentally good and necessary for any institution. Having secured these lasting impacts in our communities, our public policy, and our crimefighting capacity, the time has come to open the pathway for new leadership at the Manhattan D.A.’s Office," Vance said.
Vance, a Democrat, counted Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction a year ago among his crowning achievements but faced withering criticism over other high-profile cases, including dropping rape charges against French financier Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2011 and declining to prosecute Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. over fraud allegations in 2012.
Vance’s decision not to run for re-election was widely anticipated, but he held off on making it official while the U.S. Supreme Court was weighing whether his office could obtain Trump’s tax records. The court ruled in Vance’s favor last month.
Vance, 66, raised little money this election cycle and stayed curiously quiet as other Democrats campaigned to replace him. Eight candidates are on the ballot for the party’s June primary, an election that will likely decide Vance’s successor because Manhattan is so heavily Democratic.
Vance is conducting a wide-ranging investigation that includes examining whether Trump or his businesses lied about the value of assets to gain favorable loan terms and tax benefits, and hush-money payments paid to women on Trump’s behalf.
Vance, whose father was President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of state, served as an assistant district attorney under Morgenthau in the 1980s. Practicing law in Seattle for 16 years, he represented Vili Fualaau, who as a preteen became involved in a sexual relationship with his sixth-grade teacher, Mary Kay Letourneau, and fathered two of her children.
Vance returned to New York in 2004 and was elected district attorney five years later. Running as a death penalty opponent, he was buoyed by endorsements from Morgenthau and former Mayor David Dinkins.
Vance positioned himself as a national criminal justice innovator, taking interest in national and global efforts to prevent cyberattacks and gun violence. He has testified before Congress about cellphone encryption and financial transparency.
After Vance made a made a campaign pledge to re-examine the 1979 disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz, a 2012 tip led to a new suspect and ultimately a conviction.
Weinstein’s conviction in the landmark #MeToo case last year boosted Vance’s lagging legacy, giving him a career-defining win a decade into a tenure clouded by concerns that he repeatedly gave powerful people special treatment, such as sidestepping an effort to pursue charges against Weinstein in 2015.