The first high-profile appointments by new District Attorney Ken Thompson come to Brooklyn with some history from the Manhattan prosecutor’s office — and even a bit of baggage.
Brooklyn’s new top prosecutor has appointed Leroy Frazer, Jr. as his chief of staff and Coleen Balbert as chief of his Sex Crimes Unit.
Nearly three decades ago, Frazer was fired from his job tracking down tax cheats for the state in 1987 after admitting that he hadn’t filed city or state tax returns in 1984 or 1985. His attorney also admitted Frazer had not filed a federal return in the latter year.
According to the New York Times, then-31-year-old Frazer worked for the state Department of Finance’s enforcement division, where he oversaw investigations into businesses and individuals suspected of not paying their taxes. Frazer faced two years in prison and $10,000 in fines, and ended up serving 200 hours of community service.
Frazer had spent six years as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan prior to getting the state finance job, and returned to then-District Attorney Robert Morgenthau’s office in 1988. Thompson’s office said Frazer’s decades of work as a prosecutor outweighed his past tax troubles.
“We’re talking about, what, 30 years ago?” said Thompson spokeswoman Sharon Toomer. “Mr. Frazer has an amazing track record, and DA Thompson is very happy with his selection.”
Balbert’s role as deputy chief of the Manhattan district attorney’s Sex Crimes office pushed her into the spotlight in 2011 — when she unsuccessfully prosecuted two police officers for allegedly raping an intoxicated woman in her East Village apartment. The two officers’ acquittal shocked the legal world, but then-Police Commissioner Ray Kelly promptly fired the two from the force.
That same year, Balbert was featured in the 2011 HBO documentary “Sex Crimes Unit.”