Private emails between convicted (but repentant) felon and former judge Sol Wachtler and his friend, incumbent Brooklyn D.A. Charles J. Hynes, show Wachtler using the word "schwarze" – a negative Yiddish term for black people – and Hynes making no objection to that racist term's use.
…On July 30, Wachtler sent Hynes a news article about Thompson’s endorsement from Dov Hikind, the state assemblyman who made headlines in February for appearing in blackface at a Purim party. In the body of the email, above the link to the story, Wachtler writes, “Another schwarze” — a contemptuous Yiddish term for a black person.
A Hynes spokesman, Brad Gerstman, said that Wachtler is a “friend and not a participant” in the campaign, and stressed that Wachtler’s use of the slur is “certainly not something [Hynes] condones or would ever use.”
“He might not even be able to tell you what that is,” said Gerstman. “I think his history regarding race relations is pretty clear and speaks for itself. Sol Wachtler, that may be a different story.”
Wachtler did not respond to a request for comment.
The emails also show that Hynes used his King’s County government account to correspond about the campaign with Judge Joseph Bellacosa, whom he tapped earlier this year to run an “independent panel” to review 50 trial convictions involving a discredited detective.
Bellacosa was copied on the messages to and from Wachtler.
“Hynes and Bellacosa are very close friends — we’ve addressed that,” said another campaign spokesman, Jerry Schmetterer, citing campaign finance disclosures that revealed earlier this year that Bellacosa has given $1,000 to Hynes’s campaign.
“The issue of being on the panel does not pose a conflict,” Schmetterer said.
Wachtler has also donated to Hynes’s reelection bid. He gave $2,000 back in February, and his wife, Joan, gave an additional $1,500 in October, according to campaign finance filings.
In another exchange, dated July 9, Hynes forwarded Wachtler and Bellacosa a figure-by-figure canvas report detailing his campaign’s field operation, to which Wachtler responded with advice and his thoughts on the field operation.
“It would be interesting to know if any particular area has a concentration of opponent support,” he wrote, “or undecided voters and their stated reason for their decision.”
Hynes, incidentally, has made repeated efforts to link his opponent to Clarence Norman Jr., the Democratic assemblyman and party boss who was put away for extortion six years ago. Wachtler, an ex-con himself, was convicted in 1993 of threatening to kidnap the daughter of his former lover and was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.
Schmetterer denied that the communication between Wachtler and Hynes is comparable to the alleged ties between Thompson and Norman, whose connection the Thompson campaign has vehemently denied.
“He’s a friend of the District Attorney’s,” Schmetterer said. “I could tell you that I never had one conversation with Judge Wachtler, and I can tell you that the campaign manager has not had one conversation with Judge Wachtler.”
“He does not have a role in the campaign,” Schmetterer said.…
Most recently, Hynes has been criticized for a full-page advertisement running in two Yiddish weeklies that blame his loss on “the minority element that seeks lawlessness.” Thompson’s campaign suggested the ad was racist and called on Hynes to “take down this disgusting ad immediately.”