Prosecutor in New York Chokehold Case May Run for Grimm’s Seat

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Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan
Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan announces his bid to run for New York State attorney general in New York, in this May 25, 2010 file photo. Photographer: Anthony DePrimo/The Advance via AP Photo

The New York prosecutor who made headlines in the Eric Garner chokehold case said he is “very seriously” considering running for the U.S. congressional seat being vacated by Republican Representative Michael Grimm.

“I will make an announcement after the due deliberation such an important decision deserves,” Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan said in a statement about whether he might try to succeed the congressman.

Grimm, whose district includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, said this week he will resign from Congress Jan. 5 following his Dec. 23 guilty plea to a federal tax charge.

A candidacy by Donovan could become highly charged because he was the prosecutor who handled the case of a white New York City police officer accused of killing Garner, an unarmed black man, with a chokehold on July 17.

A grand jury on Staten Island decided on Dec. 3 not to indict the officer. That decision came a week after a grand jury in Missouri cleared a white officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black teen in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

In his statement yesterday, Donovan said he’s been “deeply flattered by the enthusiastic expressions of support” he’s received to run since Grimm announced he would resign.

The district traditionally has leaned Republican, though President Barack Obama carried it in 2012.

Malliotakis, Cusick

Another potential Republican candidate is state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who previously was an aide to former New York Governor George Pataki. Possible Democratic contenders include state Assemblyman Michael Cusick, a former aide to Senator Chuck Schumer, as well as Grimm’s predecessor in the seat, former one-term U.S. Representative Michael McMahon, who lost to Grimm in 2010.

U.S. Representative Peter King of New York, a Republican, said in an interview today that he views Donovan as the potential frontrunner if he seeks the seat. He said he didn’t think the Garner case would become a stumbling block for Donovan.

“No, he handled himself professionally,” said King.

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