The Brooklyn district attorney has elevated a “political operative” with no law background who has “inserted himself” in many high-profile cases much to the dismay of prosecutors, according to a former employee who recently left the office.
Marc Fliedner, 53, called it quits last Friday after two years of witnessing District Attorney Kenneth Thompson “lose focus” on the “unique and sacred” role.
During the last months of Fliedner’s tenure, where he helped land the convictions of former NYPD Officer Peter Liang and Officer Joel Edouard, he questioned Thompson’s leadership toward staffers and judgment for allegedly handing executive positions to unqualified persons.
Wayne Williams was recently elevated to deputy chief of staff, said Fliedner, who worked for the office on and off since 1987.
“At the DA’s directive, (Williams) has inserted himself to sensitive plea negotiations, decisions on depositions, decisions about trial strategies and such,” Fliedner charged.
Williams, 39, was previously Thompson’s senior advisor for intergovernmental relations a position not noted on the DA’s website and made public appearances on his behalf.
Williams is also frequently spotted in Brooklyn Supreme Court during high-profile cases, and sometimes sends underlings to take vigorous notes.
“He’s been calling the shots lately.
He’s been directing management on certain legal situations, instead of the very experienced (chief assistant DA and counsel to the DA),” said Fliedner.
“I have nothing against the guy. . . . I just don’t think it’s appropriate,” added Fliedner.
Williams previously worked for Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who endorsed Thompson during the 2013 campaign, and was listed among City and State’s “40 under 40.”
“You can’t have a guy who doesn’t even have a law degree deciding people’s fate. That’s so irresponsible!” said a source familiar with the office.
A spokesman for the DA’s office said, “Wayne Williams is a highly regarded member of the executive team who has done outstanding work for the office.”
Thompson took office in January 2014 after defeating the previous DA, Charles Hynes, in an election.
He cleaned up shop within his first six months by firing 11 prosecutors.
Since then, Thompson has allegedly demoralized, disrespected and belittled workers, causing almost a dozen prosecutors to retire or resign.
“He’s abusive, misuses his staff and it’s very unfortunate because it probably accounts for some of the mass exodus of the office we have seen, which is bad for the office and bad for Brooklyn,” said Fliedner.