A donation of $250 to the campaign of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance raises questions about how his office vets contributions for potential conflicts of interest, CBS News reports. The donation came from a defense attorney on the day a key motion was filed in a disturbing sexual assault case that ended with a plea deal. Revelations that Vance’s office declined to charge Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein after an New York police sex assault investigation have increased scrutiny on donations to Vance, who won re-election by a landslide in 2013 and is running unopposed in next month’s election. The Weinstein case surfaced reports that Vance also received a donation in 2012 from an attorney associated with Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, after his office closed an investigation into allegations the Trumps intentionally misled investors about the value of a Trump hotel. That donation was returned after questions were raised.
In 2015, Vance’s office was handling the case of an obstetrician accused of sexually abusing six patients. One woman told prosecutors that when she was 30 weeks pregnant Dr. Robert Hadden forcefully pulled her pants and underwear down. “He then grabbed her buttocks, while rotating her body around, squeezing and grasping, ‘cupping and manhandling’ her buttocks, hips and vagina,” court records said. Vance’s office found 18 other women who said they suffered similar assaults by Hadden over two decades. Hadden was indicted in 2014 for six of the alleged assaults. On October 9, 2015, his attorney, Isabelle Kirshner, filed a lengthy motion opposing the prosecution. Later that day, she donated $250 to Vance’s reelection campaign. Eventually, Hadden forfeited his medical license and pled guilty to two counts, but he never was incarcerated. That Kirshner’s donation wasn’t returned highlights just how flawed Vance’s system of vetting donations has been, said Sonia Ossorio of the National Organization for Women.