Morgenthau, Robert Morris

Morgenthau, Robert Morris, , 1919-2009, b. New York, N.Y, Amherst College (B.A., 1941); Yale Univ. Law School (J.D., 1948). He was the son of Henry Morgenthau Jr. and grandson of Henry Morgenthau. After attending college, he enlisted in the Navy in World War II, serving for four and a half years in the Mediterranean and Pacific, and then attended law school. He joined a corporate law firm (1948-61) and then was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of N.Y. by President John F. Kennedy. In 1962, he ran for governor of the state, but was defeated by Nelson Rockefeller. Morgenthau was forced out of office by President Richard Nixon in 1969, briefly ran for governor again in 1970, and then returned to private practice until 1974, when he was elected District Attorney of N.Y. County to fill out the term created by the death of the previous D.A.; he won a full term in 1977 and was subsequently re-elected eight times, running unopposed from 1985-2005; he retired in 2009 as the longest-serving D.A. at the time. Morgenthau oversaw several cases that won national attention, including that of Mark David Chapman (1981, who murdered John Lennon), Bernhard Goetz (1987, the so-called “Subway Vigilante”), Robert Chambers (1988, the “Preppie Killer”), and the Central Park Jogger case (1989, subsequently overturned when the D.A.’s office investigated the trial in 2002). Among those who served as assistant D.A.s under Morgenthau were future Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor , future governors Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo, two scions of the Kennedy family, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and his successor, Cyrus Vance Jr.

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