"Judge Snyder ordered the case to a hearing, which was proper," said Bogatin. "But she didn't want to handle it herself. She spent two weeks trying to send it to another judge. She said she only handled big, multi-defendant cases. This case was just too small and unimportant for her. She said she didn't have the time."

When no other judge took the case, Snyder had to hold the hearing herself. "What she said from the bench was, 'I can't believe I have to try this case,' " said Bogatin. "I remember thinking it was pretty callous for a member of the judiciary. After all, this was an assault on an innocent woman who had lost her eye."

Following the hearing, Snyder denied the motion to dismiss, saying the delay wasn't the cops' fault. Smith later pled guilty and was sentenced to 3 to 9 years. But Snyder was later reversed by an appellate panel, which tossed out the indictment and conviction, pointing out that police had managed to arrest Smith nine separate times after they knew he was a suspect in the bottle attack, but had still failed to charge him.

Wrapped in her own flag: Snyder on parade
Henry McGee–Globe Photos, Inc./Newscom
Wrapped in her own flag: Snyder on parade

"What I remember is how dismissive she was in both what she said and how she said it," said Bogatin. "It was just too little for her. Not sexy enough."

For Snyder, this is a lot more ancient history than she bargained for. "The information in this article is misleading and inaccurate," said her spokesman, Eric Pugatch. "We're confident voters will care more about Leslie's 35-year record of fighting for social justice and protecting New Yorkers than they will about the false recollections of a few individuals from decades ago."

Snyder wouldn't say what was false in these old stories, or suggest why anyone would want to make them up. But she complained at the debate that she is the victim of an "old boys network"—one that includes Vance, his chief backer, Morgenthau, and the three dailies that have endorsed him.

Actually, before the powerful Times editorial board weighed in with its endorsement of Vance, much of the pre-primary momentum was going to the dark horse in the race, defense lawyer and anti-crime activist Richard Aborn, who has impressed many meeting him for the first time with his energy and ideas. As of late last week, of the 24 elected officials choosing sides in the race, Aborn has 17 endorsements, including West Side congressman Jerry Nadler and a dozen state legislators. Vance has half a dozen, led by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and congresswoman Nydia Velázquez. Snyder's sole endorsement by a sitting elected official came from East Side assemblyman Micah Kellner. She does hold an overwhelming lead in another category, however: law enforcement unions and organizations. She's got 20 of them.


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