pcloudy.png
Monday September 16th, 2019 4:25PM

Sotomayor pays tribute at mentor Robert Morgenthau's funeral

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor lavished praise on her onetime mentor, former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, saying at his funeral Thursday that he made her the human being and legal mind she is today.

More than 1,000 mourners filled Temple Emanu-El, the Manhattan synagogue where he was a trustee for half a century.

Notables included New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., as well as journalist Dan Rather, former Mayor David Dinkins, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, former U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, former New York police commissioner Ray Kelly and actor Tony Danza.

Morgenthau died Sunday after a brief illness, 10 days short of his 100th birthday.

"I hope my voice will not break too much with tears as I speak today," Sotomayor said. "Without Morgenthau, I would be neither the person nor the justice I am today."

He gave Sotomayor, a New York native, her first job out of Yale Law School in 1979, as an assistant district attorney.

Six of Morgenthau's seven children each spoke at the service, describing a father who never raised his voice and "always, always backed us up," said daughter Anne Grand. "He rarely, extremely rarely, told us to do anything - no bedtimes, no curfews. He was a lot of fun."

She recalled temper tantrums as a 3-year-old over having her throat examined for possible illnesses each day as she entered school. One morning, her father went to see the doctor who insisted on the exams.

"Dad said calmly, but firmly, in his best dad voice, 'We've talked it over and the answer is, no,'" Grand said.

Officiating at Thursday's simple, emotion-filled ceremony capped with music from the synagogue's choir was its rabbi emeritus, Ronald Sobel, a Morgenthau friend of nearly six decades.

Sobel called Morgenthau "incorruptible ... a legend in the legal profession."

Standing near the casket draped in an American flag in honor of Morgenthau's World War II service in the Navy, the rabbi said: "We weep, we mourn, we celebrate."

Another longtime friend, attorney Stephen Kaufman, recounted a moment when Morgenthau's vessel was torpedoed and he ended up in Mediterranean waters with a life preserver. Nearby was a sailor without one. "Without hesitation, Bob took off his life preserver and gave it to the shouting sailor."

Years later, Kaufman quoted Morgenthau as saying, with his wry humor, "'I think it was one of the stupidest things I ever did.'"

He was nearly 90 when he retired in 2009 after 35 years as Manhattan district attorney, having overseen thousands of cases, including that of John Lennon assassin Mark David Chapman, subway vigilante Bernard Goetz, mob boss John Gotti and "Preppie Killer" Robert Chambers.

Sotomayor credited him with transforming the district attorney's role, creating specialized teams that are now a staple of many prosecutors' offices, devoted to sex crimes, identity theft, fraud, cold cases and a citywide narcotics unit. The justice said Morgenthau also expanded the scope of the office, tackling corruption, racketeering and financial crimes on an international scale.

Looking out at those gathered, the justice said she was speaking on behalf of all who had worked under "the boss," as his staff called him.

Earlier in his career, Morgenthau was Manhattan's top federal prosecutor, appointed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.

In his spare time, recalled son Josh Morgenthau, his father would spend time at a farm in upstate New York founded in 1913 by his grandfather, Henry Morgenthau Jr. The prosecutor enjoyed peddling eggs from the free-range hens to Manhattan businesses he frequented as a food lover.

Josh Morgenthau now runs the farm, outside Fishkill. Apples from there, still on branches, flanked the casket.

In addition to his children, survivors include his wife, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lucinda Franks; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Remains ID'd as those of Colorado girl missing 34 years
Police say the remains of a 12-year-old girl who disappeared in 1984 after performing at a Christmas holiday concert have been found by construction workers in Colorado
5:56PM ( 11 minutes ago )
150 migrants feared dead after boats capsize off Libya coast
Up to 150 Europe-bound migrants missing, feared drowned after their boats capsized in Mediterranean off Libya's coast
5:50PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Sotomayor pays tribute at mentor Robert Morgenthau's funeral
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has paid tribute to her early mentor, former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, at his funeral
5:46PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'Orange Is the New Black' offers fans a way to give back
The Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black" is offering fans a way to give back by helping advocacy groups pressing for criminal justice reform, support women re-entering society from prison, protect immigrants' rights and end mass incarceration.
5:32PM ( 35 minutes ago )
US government will execute inmates for first time since 2003
The Justice Department says it will carry out executions of federal death row inmates for the first time since 2003
5:16PM ( 51 minutes ago )
The Latest: House passes bipartisan budget and debt deal
A hard-won, bipartisan budget and debt compromise between President Donald Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has easily passed the House
5:16PM ( 51 minutes ago )
AP National News
Remains ID'd as those of Colorado girl missing 34 years
Police say the remains of a 12-year-old girl who disappeared in 1984 after performing at a Christmas holiday concert have been found by construction workers in Colorado
5:56PM ( 11 minutes ago )
150 migrants feared dead after boats capsize off Libya coast
Up to 150 Europe-bound migrants missing, feared drowned after their boats capsized in Mediterranean off Libya's coast
5:50PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Drug cost bill advances but GOP resistance spells trouble
Bipartisan compromise to reduce drug costs for seniors advances in Senate over GOP resistance
5:44PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Prosecutor: More people could be charged in R. Kelly case
A prosecutor has told a federal judge in Chicago that more charges and more defendants could be added to the criminal case that's already put singer R. Kelly behind bars pending trial
5:41PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Trump lashes out at Sweden after rapper A$AP Rocky charged
President Donald Trump is lashing out at Sweden after a prosecutor there charged rapper A$AP Rocky with assault over a fight in Stockholm last month
5:39PM ( 28 minutes ago )