Bragg, Deputy Attorney General To Be Lead Special Prosecutor Following Cuomo's Executive Order -- Schneiderman

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AG Schneiderman introduces the new Special Prosecution team

New York State Executive Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg -- a seasoned prosecutor and former Assistant U.S. Attorney -- will lead a new Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit to handle cases involving deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of the police.

The announcement was made by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The position was authorized by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order requiring the Office of the Attorney General to investigate and, if warranted, prosecute cases where unarmed civilians die during interactions with law enforcement.

Wanda Perez-Maldonado, Senior Counsel in the Public Integrity Bureau and former Assistant District Attorney in Bronx County; Paul A. Clyne, a former District Attorney for Albany County; and Assistant Attorney General Diane LaVallee will serve as Bragg’s deputies, Schneiderman said.

The Attorney General also appointed Gail Heatherly – Chief of the Attorney General’s Conviction Review Bureau -- to serve as the new unit’s Counsel.

“The team that I have assembled includes some of the best and most talented prosecutors in New York. I am confident they will evaluate each of these cases fairly and impartially, while working to promote justice and ensure independence,” Schneiderman said. “I can imagine no more important responsibility than the one we have been given by the Governor's Executive Order, and I am committed to doing my part to help restore public trust and confidence in the handling of these sensitive cases.”

In December, Schneiderman was joined by a broad coalition of advocates and public officials in calling on Governor Cuomo to issue an Executive Order that would serve as a temporary step toward restoring public trust and confidence in the review and evaluation of cases involving unarmed civilians who die during an interaction with law enforcement. 

In a letter sent to Governor Cuomo in December, the Attorney General formally requested an interim Executive Order directing the Office of the Attorney General to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute cases involving the deaths of unarmed civilians during an interaction with police. Despite a number of proposals offering other permanent and long-term solutions, last month the Legislature adjourned without enacting any reforms.  On July 8, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order directing the Attorney General to investigate such cases.

Below are career biographies of the members of the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit:

Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., Chief, Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit

Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. serves as the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice.  Mr. Bragg was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office in New York’s Southern District, where he investigated and prosecuted misconduct by elected officials and law enforcement, money laundering of narcotics proceeds, bank fraud, witness tampering, and fraud relating to government contracts. Mr. Bragg previously served as an Assistant Attorney General with the Public Integrity Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where he investigated and prosecuted cases involving official misconduct and fraud. Mr. Bragg also served as the Chief of Litigation and Investigations at the New York City Council and was in private practice at the firm now known as Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello P.C. Immediately after law school, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Robert P. Patterson, Jr., U.S. District Judge, Southern District of New York. Mr. Bragg received his A.B. from Harvard University, cum laude, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Paul A. Clyne, Deputy Chief, Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit

Paul A. Clyne serves as an Assistant Attorney General in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.  He served as District Attorney of Albany County from 2001 to 2004 and was an Assistant District Attorney in Albany County for fourteen years.  Mr. Clyne has presented over 700 cases to grand juries, including scores of homicides, and has tried fifteen homicides to verdict.  Mr. Clyne received his B.A. from State University of New York, College at Oneonta, and his J.D. from Albany Law School.

Wanda Perez-Maldonado, Deputy Chief, Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit

Wanda Perez-Maldonado serves as Senior Counsel in the Public Integrity Bureau, where she investigates and prosecutes official misconduct and fraud.  Previously, she served for seven years as an Assistant District Attorney in the Investigations Division of the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, where Ms. Perez-Maldonado conducted over 100 investigations concerning allegations of excessive force and misconduct by members of the New York City Police Department and the New York City Department of Corrections.  Ms. Perez-Maldonado received her B.A. from Rutgers University and her J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Diane LaVallee, Deputy Chief, Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit

Diane M. LaVallee serves as an Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau in the Buffalo regional office. During her time with the District Attorney’s offices in Erie and Orleans counties, Diane handled more than two dozen homicide investigations. Last year, she successfully prosecuted a 1979 cold case murder in Lackawanna. As head of the Attorney General’s Capital Assistance to Prosecutors Unit from 1997 to 2004, she assisted counties around the state with the prosecution of death penalty and other complicated murder cases. Diane earned her B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo and her J.D. from University at Buffalo Law School.

Gail Heatherly, Counsel, Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit

Gail Heatherly is Senior Counsel to the Criminal Justice Division and the Bureau Chief of the Conviction Review Bureau.  From 2007 to 2012, she was the Bureau Chief of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau.  For fourteen years, from 1991 through 2005, she was a senior prosecutor in the New York County District Attorney's Office.  There, she was a homicide assistant; conducted long-term cold case homicide investigations; was the Domestic Violence supervisor in her trial bureau; and was a member of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit.  Prior to working at the District Attorney's Office, she was a litigation associate at a large New York City law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.  She earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law.

The unit will also have the full support of the attorneys in the Criminal Division, led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. 



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