US attorney stepping down looks back on biggest cases

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A decorated U.S. Attorney is in his final days as the region’s top prosecutor.

U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian is stepping down this Friday after two decades with the Department of Justice.

Hartunian was born in Delmar and became the region’s top federal prosecutor.

He leaves behind a legacy of successful cases.

Hartunian went head to head with former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, convicted and then exonerated of mail services fraud.

He convicted Glendon Scott Crawford after a sting operation. Crawford became the first person found guilty of plotting to use what’s known as the ‘death ray’. He is currently serving a 30-year sentence.

“It was particularly diabolical. We have to use those kinds of operations in order to stay one step ahead of people who would engage in that kind of horrific conduct.”

Hartunian’s office secured four convictions of perjury in one of the most heart-wrenching cases in the Capital Region, the deadly Hulett Street arson that killed Safyre Terry’s father and siblings.

The investigation is unresolved but still a high priority.

“We’re not going to rest until justice is fully served in that case.”

He says a sense that your mission to secure justice is his motivation to overcome obstacles.

”If you really have that as your North Star that you’re here to do the right thing for the right reasons. I think that’s really important and I hope that’s a strong legacy that I’ve left behind.”

Hartunian plans to enter a private practice but won’t give too many details on that just yet.

His first assistant, Grant Jaquith, will become acting U.S. Attorney.

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