By Shayna Jacobs
MUNICIPAL DISTRICT — Robert Morgenthau had not finished packing his office or making retirement plans, but he announced two guilty pleas and a $536 million transfer of funds on the eve of his last day in office.
The 90-year-old outgoing Manhattan District Attorney was his usual lighthearted-self during his final news conference Wednesday, making jokes as reporters pressed him about what will come next for the 35-year head of the country's largest prosecutors office.
"I haven't reserved a beach chair yet," said Morgenthau, who is fondly called "boss" by his staff.
The legendary prosecutor used one of the day's announcements to reinforce his motto that "no case is too small" for the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
Morgenthau pointed to the case of a woman who pleaded guilty to stealing the identity of another woman.
Her victim "went through hell" and could not get married because of the crime, said chief of the investigation division Patrick Dugan, who is leaving with Morgenthau.
Morgenthau said it was an example of how his office helps everyday New Yorkers in need by prosecuting such cases.
In addition to the I.D. theft case, Morgenthau announced the guilty plea of a Long Island man charged with evading taxes on one of the city's largest real estate deals.
He also reported Credit Suisse paid his office one half billion dollars — half of which was split between the city and state — as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, after the bank was accused of laundering Iranian money.
For Cy Vance, Jr., the incoming district attorney who Morgenthau endorsed and supported on the campaign trial, the rules for success are simple, Morgenthau said.
"Prosecute cases without fear or favorites," he said.
"Hire people on the basis of merit — no political connections. If you need public trust and public support, you'll get that if you follow those guidelines."
He thanked his staff and President Barack Obama "for having the courage and good sense" to appoint Sonia Sotomayor, an alum of the office, to the U.S. Supreme Court.
For Morgenthau, who wears a hearing aid, one of the last questions was inaudible.
After asking several times to hear it repeated, his answer was simple.
"Will I miss it?" Morgenthau said. "Uh, sure."