Vance’s decision not to charge Weinstein then — despite Battilana working with the NYPD just after her assault to catch him on tape all but admitting to it — came about two years after his decision, against the advice of his own prosecutors, not to charge Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. with a Trump SoHo fraud scheme.
I can imagine a very different election in 2016 and a very different America right now if the district attorney had acted more honorably before then.
I can’t imagine a President Trump without the mostly Democratic and male-dominated and pervasively perverse and corrupt New York political environment that Trump thrived in for decades.
Days before Weinstein brought himself in, fallen “taxi king” Gene Freidman — his picture used to be in the dictionary next to “Voracious and Exploitative Capitalism,” back when he was making tens of millions on the medallions that drivers needed to barely eke out a living — pleaded guilty to fraud charges.
Freidman is an old friend and, he now says, a “passive business partner” of Trump fixer Michael Cohen. The two reportedly first met in small-claims court, just a pair of multi-millionaires recognizing a kindred soul willing to show up in person to fight the little guy for his last dime.
We’ll see if Freidman helps bring down Cohen, whose offices were raided by the FBI last month, now that he’s cut a deal with New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood to cooperate with prosecutors.
Underwood is the first woman ever to serve in one of the three big state government offices, a milestone we finally arrived at only after Eric Schneiderman — who’d charged Freidman — stepped down after multiple women said he’d abused them.
Speaking of terrible men changing the course of history, Freidman put his money behind Anthony Weiner in the 2013 mayoral race, before making up for that bad bet by backing de Blasio. The new mayor paid the (yellow) taxi king back, YUGELY, by fighting like hell against both outer-borough green cabs and Uber.
And you can’t talk shady friends without mentioning Shelly Silver, now awaiting his justly deserved prison sentence and who de Blasio called a “man of integrity” when the fallen Assembly speaker was first charged with using his public office to steal everything he could while still finding time to sleep with both the state’s highest-paid lobbyist (a former aide to Silver, anything but coincidentally) and a fellow lawmaker.
Or Silver’s former top aide Michael Boxley, who, after being accused of rape and pleading to a lesser crime, had been doing just fine as a lobbyist here. (Alexis Grenell wrote for the News about Boxley’s lobbying work at the beginning of March, and his firm said last week that they had parted ways with him that month.)
There are more creeps and criminals in this town than I get words in this column, and while this mayor isn’t responsible for their actions, he has done business with an awful lot of them.