Queens DA Richard Brown dead at 86

NEW YORK — Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown has died at the age of 86, the District Attorney’s office said Saturday.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the very sad news that our beloved Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown has passed away,” Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan said in a statement.

“Judge Brown’s goal as District Attorney from the very start was to elevate the standard of professionalism by hiring on merit, not political connections. And he made it a priority to have the most talented, capable and dedicated professionals imaginable.”

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz expressed her condolences on Brown’s passing, remembering him “his kindness to me and my entire family throughout the years.”

“The Borough of Queens mourns the loss of a lifelong public servant. We reflect on and honor Judge Brown’s extraordinary devotion and distinguished service to the people of Queens. I will forever and fondly remember his kindness to me and to my entire family throughout the years. Our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with Judge Brown’s family – especially Rhoda, their three children and two grandchildren – during this difficult time.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted his condolences, acknowledging Brown as “a giant of the legal community.”

Brown was a longtime district attorney in Queens, having been in office since 1991 after being appointed by then-Gov. Mario Cuomo. He was re-elected to seven full terms in office and served millions of people in the borough.

In January, Brown announced he was not seeking re-election. In March, he announced he would resign on June 1 for health reasons associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Chief Assistant District Attorney John M. Ryan was assigned to be Acting DA during Brown’s leave.

“Given the current state of my health and my ongoing health issues, it has become increasingly difficult to fully perform the powers and duties of my office in the manner in which I have done since 1991. Accordingly, I intend to resign as District Attorney effective June 1, 2019, the twenty-eighth anniversary of my first assuming this office,” he said in a statement in March.

He is survived by his wife, three children and two grandchildren.

Correction: This story has been updated with the correct number of terms Brown was re-elected. The statement from the Chief Assistant District Attorney initially said he was re-elected six times. 

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