“Karen, you can’t have a banking mortgage operation that’s predicated upon creating loans where people do not qualify under the standards required by Fannie Mae, and then selling to Fannie Mae, when ultimately the tax payers and the public are at risk,” said Mr. Vance in reply. “Why in this case? It’s because it had to be done.”
Mr. Vance would not comment if there were other investigations being conducted on larger banks.
Later, Jonathan Dienst, the hoarse-voiced correspondent for WNBC, raised his hand to ask if this was a sign if “the Justice Department has failed to do its job?”
“We have been waiting and asking questions of US Attorneys in this town for years and we have not seen a single prosecution like this,” Mr. Dienst added, his voice growing perceptibly edgier as he went deeper into his question. “Now you’re office comes along and brings this case.”
Mr. Vance called out Jonathan’s first name in reply, as he did with many of the reporters whom he fielded questions from.
“I think this office is not criticizing our federal counterparts,” Mr. Vance said. ” I expect, Jonathan, that other people are working on other cases. But I don’t stand here in criticism of any other prosecuting agency. I stand here thanking our Federal partners for their hardwork, thanking the lawyers in my office for their good work, and bringing to the public and revealing a systematic pattern of fraud that I think is important for us at this point of time.”
Shortly afterwards, Laura Italiano, The NY Post’s dogged courts reporter, raised her hand and apologetically asked that dreaded off-topic question.
“There’s been some, uh, wonder, I think, in the… community of people that look at crimes like this (Etan Patz), in the legal community, uh, and elsewhere, I guess in the press, about how this case will ever be proven, given that it seems to rest of the confession of a man with serious mental illness,” said Ms. Italiano. “Any light you can shed on why this is a viable case?”
Without missing a beat, Mr. Vance turned to Ms. Italiano –who was sitting on the floor, not too far from his right– and started his answer by mentioning her first name.
His office commenced a cold case unit in 2010 that he said was “to make sure that justice is brought to victims and their families in cases that may have remained unsolved, and cold.”
“We now have a case that we are working on with an enormous amount of resources, care and attention,” said Mr. Vance, when answering to another reporter’s follow-up question.
How confident was he that Pedro Hernandez’s confession sealed his guilt? he was asked.
“I am not going to answer that question, and not because I am afraid to answer it, it’s just because it’s really premature for me to answer at this point in time,” Mr. Vance replied.
“Thank you all for being here,” he said, sharply, and ended the press conference.
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