Cy Vance is the Manhattan District Attorney. According to Fox News, Vance has ordered former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to be transferred from a minimum security Pennsylvania prison to New York’s notorious Riker’s Island prison. Manafort could be transferred to Riker’s as early as Thursday, June 6, according to Fox. Manafort will be held in solitary confinement for his own safety, the New York Post reports.
Manafort, who has already been convicted of 10 felonies in Virginia, also faces fraud charges in New York State. The DA’s office announced the charges in March 2019, after a grand jury indictment. “No one is beyond the law in New York,” Cy Vance said in a statement at the time. “Following an investigation commenced by our Office in March 2017, a Manhattan grand jury has charged Mr. Manafort with state criminal violations which strike at the heart of New York’s sovereign interests, including the integrity of our residential mortgage market.”
Here’s what you need to know about Cy Vance:
1. He’s Been Accused of Being Too Soft on Powerful People — Including Members of the Trump Family
In 2012, according to a report by ProPublica, Manhattan prosecutors were building a possible case against Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. The case centered around alleged criminal misconduct in connection with the Trump SoHo building. The Trumps hired Marc Kasowitz, a lawyer with long-standing ties to Donald Trump Sr, to work on the case.
Kasowitz was one of the biggest donors to Cy Vance’s election campaign; he reportedly donated $25,000 to Vance’s 2012 re-election campaign. (Vance returned the money once Kasowitz started representing the Trumps.) In 2012, Kasowitz visited Vance’s office to request that the charges against Ivanka and Donald Jr be dropped. Three months later, Vance dropped the charges.
“I did not at the time believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed,” he told ProPublica. “I had to make a call and I made the call, and I think I made the right call.”
Six months later, according to ProPublica, Kasowitz made a series of donations to Vance’s office, totaling $50,000.
2. The FBI Investigated Vance After He Dropped Charges Against Harvey Weinstein & Others
The FBI opened an investigation into Cy Vance in 2018, after he dropped charges against a number of powerful people including Harvey Weinstein. The Daily News reported that the FBI was probing Vance’s handling of high-rofile cases after people connected to those cases had made sizeable donations to Vance’s election campaign.
Vance was widely criticized after his office decided not to bring a case against Harvey Weinstein, after the model Ambra Battilana said Weinstein groped her breasts in his Tribeca office. A lawyer hired by Weinstein at the time had given Vance a donation of $24,000 and another attorney made a $10,000 donation after the DA’s office decided not to arrest Weinstein.
3. His Father, Cyrus Vance Sr, Was Secretary of State in the Carter Administration
Cy Vance’s father served as Secretary of State during the Carter administration; before that, he was Deputy Secretary of Defense. He also served in Lyndon Johnson’s administration as Secretary of the Army.
Cy Jr told the New York Times that he remembered his father as a conflicted man, who struggled with many of the government policies he had to represent. He said he had a vivid memory of the day his father decided to resign, because he opposed President Carter’s decision to try to rescue American hostages held in Iran.
“He wasn’t overly emotional, but it was as if he had just run a marathon and was exhausted,” Vance said. “I remember he had a case of gout. He just was uncomfortable, unhappy and tired.”
4. He Grew Up in New York & in DC & Joined the DA’s Office After Graduating from Law School
Vance lived in New York, in a four-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side, until he was six years old. That’s when the family moved to Washington DC for his father’s political career. Vance rubbed shoulders with the rich and powerful as a child, making friends with Caroline Kennedy and meeting Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House.
Vance studied at Yale and went on to earn a law degree from Georgetown before moving back to New York and going to work at the DA’s office.
5. He & His Wife Peggy McDonnell, Have two Children
Cy Vance is married to Peggy McDonnell, a photographer. You can also read more about Peggy McDonnell here. The couple first met when they were children; Vance has said that he originally had a crush on Peggy’s older sister, who had no interest in him. Cy and Peggy met again as young adults and began dating, eventually marrying in 1984. They have two grown children, Simon and Clare.