Administrative History

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption in the City of New York (known as the "Knapp Commission" from its chairman, Whitman Knapp), appointed by the mayor in 1970, issued a report in 1972 recommending the appointment of a special prosecutor. Executive Orders 55 through 59, issued by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller on September 19, 1972, required the Attorney General to appoint one or more special deputies and assistants to investigate and prosecute alleged "corrupt acts and omissions" in the five counties comprising the City of New York.

Those acts were specified as including unauthorized exercise of an official function, failure to perform a public duty, and violations of various sections of the Penal Law, including coercion, larceny, official misconduct, obstructing governmental administration, bribery involving public servants and related offenses, perjury and related offenses; also criminal solicitation, conspiracy, and criminal facilitation relating to the aforementioned offenses. Subjects of investigation and prosecution included both individuals, in particular "public servants" (public officers and employees), and other public or private entities. The Office of the Special Prosecutor focused its attention mainly on the New York City Police Department.