Former prosecutor, thriller writer Linda Fairstein endorses Democrat Michael Dougherty in attorney general race

Author: Ernest Luning - September 27, 2017 - Updated: September 28, 2017

Author Linda Fairstein in her New York home. (Photo by Katherine Marks, courtesy Linda Fairstein)Author Linda Fairstein in her New York home. (Photo by Katherine Marks, courtesy Linda Fairstein)

Bestselling author Linda Fairstein, a former chief of New York City’s Sex Crimes Unit, endorsed Democrat Michael Dougherty for Colorado attorney general Wednesday.

Fairstein, considered a leading advocate for victims and pioneer in the prosecution of sex crimes, ran the Sex Crimes Unit from 1976 to 2002 and has written featuring prosecutor Alexandra Cooper since 1996. Dougherty, the assistant district attorney for Jefferson and Gilpin counties, worked under Fairstein when he was a prosecutor in New York.

“Michael Dougherty is an attorney with whom I had the privilege of working alongside for many years,” Fairstein said in a statement. “He is one of the most thoughtful, fair, thorough, and tough prosecutors I have ever known – and when you are tasked with prosecuting sex crimes, domestic violence, and child abuse cases, those are the qualities you need.  Early on his career, our colleagues recognized his great potential and I invited him to join the Sex Crimes Unit. Michael is an experienced prosecutor, natural leader, and compassionate person. Coloradans would be well served to elect him as their next attorney general.”

Dougherty, one of five Democrats running for attorney general in next year’s election, credited Fairstein with inspiring the direction of his career and praised her leadership nationally to end the rape evidence collection kit backlog.

“Linda Fairstein changed my career forever, by asking me to join the Sex Crimes Unit as a young prosecutor in New York City. Linda always encouraged me to do the right thing and seek justice for our survivors, victims, and families. She was a pioneer in the courtroom, utilizing DNA as a new tool for prosecutors and these cases. Linda knows that I will prioritize the prosecution of human trafficking operations and sexual assault cases, by assisting local prosecutors and fighting for positive changes in the legislature. Colorado needs an attorney general who will be a national leader with the experience and ability to fight these horrific crimes.  I am truly humbled and honored that she has joined our team and believes in me for this role,” Dougherty said in a statement.

Fairstein’s successor, National Football League Senior Vice President Lisa Friel — in charge of investigating allegations of off-field misconduct by players — endorsed Dougherty earlier in September.

Fairstein published “Deadfall,” her 19th Alex Cooper novel, in July.

The other Democrats running for attorney general are state Sen. Joe Salazar of Thornton, former Obama administration official and University of Colorado law school dean Phil Weiser, Denver attorney Brad Levin and former federal prosecutor Amy Padden.

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, the Republican incumbent, has said she’s considering jumping into the crowded GOP primary for governor.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.