March 16, 2017: TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

First, President Trump’s budget proposal cuts all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. WNET President and CEO Neal Shapiro has answers to what happens next.

Next, federal and state prosecutors will not charge Mayor Bill de Blasio or his staff after a lengthy probe into campaign fundraising practices.  We have the latest.

Finally, Brendan Fay is going to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade but with a twist this year.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' PRESIDENT TRUMP RELEASES HIS PROPOSED BUDGET, CUTTING ALL FUNDING FOR THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING AND PBS STATIONS JUST LIKE OURS.

WE HAVE QUESTIONS AND WNET PRESIDENT AND CEO NEIL SHAPIRO IS HERE WITH ANSWERS.

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS WILL NOT CHARGE MAYOR DE BRAUS YO AFTER FUNDRAISING INQUIRIES.

LATEST ON THIS BREAKING STORY.

LAST YEAR WE INTRODUCED YOU TO BRENDAN FAYE, A GAY NEW YORKER AND THE MAN BEHIND ST. PAT'S FOR ALL.

AFTER A 25-YEAR FIGHT, THE MARCH AND MANHATTAN ST. PATRICK'S PARADE, HE TOOK HIS PLACE ALONGSIDE MAYOR de BLASIO IN 2016.

HE IS ABOUT TO MARCH AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME OFF TO THE EMERALD ISLE.

HE WILL BE HERE FIRST.

ERIN GO BRA AND ALL OF THAT AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY -- ♪

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

THIS MORNING PRESIDENT TRUMP MADE PUBLIC HIS PROPOSED BUDGET BLUEPRINT FOR THE COMING FISCAL YEAR.

AMONG THE ITEMS INCLUDED THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FUNDING FOR THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING, THE PRIVATE NONPROFIT ENTITY THAT DISTRIBUTES FEDERAL DOLLARS TO THE NATION'S NEARLY 1500 PUBLIC RADIO AND TELEVISION STATIONS.

SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

HOW LIKELY IS IT THAT CONGRESS WILL GO ALONG WITH A ZERO BUDGETING OF THE CPBN?

IF IT DOES, WHAT DOES IT BODE FOR THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC TELEVISION.

JOINING US TO ANSWER QUESTIONS IS PRESIDENT AND CEO OF WNET, NEIL SHAPIRO.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

NICE TO BE BACK.

FIRST OF ALL, HOW MUCH MONEY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET GOES TO PBS.

IN IT IS $1.35 PER TAXPAYER.

IF IT WAS GONE TAXPAYERS WOULDN'T NOTICE.

THEY WILL NOTICE THE END OF PUBLIC MEDIA.

WHY IS IT HAPPENING?

WHY IS IT TARGETED FOR A FULL ZERO BUDGET?

THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME IT HAS HAPPENED.

WE HAVE BEEN TARGETED UNDER DIFFERENT ADMINISTRATIONS, WE HAVE BEEN ZEROED OUT AND WE FOUGHT BACK.

IT HAS BEEN A LONG BATTLE AND IT WAS RESTORED.

IT IS AMGTS DIFFERENT THIS TIME.

I THINK THE BATTLE MAY BE MORE SEVERE AND PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC TELEVISION, AND IT IS TRULY CATASTROPHIC.

WHAT ABOUT THE ARGUMENT THAT I KNOW YOU KNOW THAT SOME PROPONENTS OF THE CUTS MAKE THAT GOVERNMENT FUNDING OF PUBLIC TELEVISION MAY HAVE MADE SENSE 50 YEARS AGO WHEN CONGRESS CREATED THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING BECAUSE THERE'S A VAST WASTELAND ON TV LAND, BUT NOW THAT THERE ARE MULTIPLE SOURCES OF NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT, NOT ONLY IN TV BUT IN MULTIPLE MEDIA AND, THEREFORE, IT IS AN AKNACK RONNISM.

AS MANY PEOPLE SAY, SO MANY CHOICES, NOTHING TO WATCH.

THE FACT IS THERE'S A REASON OUR RATINGS ARE GOING UP, BECAUSE MANY OF THE THINGS WE DO ARE UNIQUE.

NOW MORE THAN EVER A PLACE FOR TRUSTED NEWS THAT'S IN-DEPTH, NOT ABOUT SCREAMING AND SHOUTING, THAT HAS THE TIME, THAT'S WHAT PUBLIC TELEVISION PROVIDES YOU, A PLACE FOR YOUR KIDS THAT IS NOT ABOUT SELLING YOU BREAKFAST CEREAL OR GETTING YOU READY FOR SIT COMS.

THAT'S WHAT PUBLIC TELEVISION PROVIDES YOU.

A PLACE FOR GREAT DRAMA OF ALL KINDS, THAT'S WHAT PUBLIC TELEVISION PROVIDES YOU, THE BEST SEATS TO THE GREATEST PERFORMANCES IN ARTS AND CULTURE, AND SOMETHING THAT IS LOMLY OWNED.

I MEAN LOOK AT THIS SHOW.

WE ARE NOT OWN BY A BIG CORPORATION, WE ARE OWNED BY THE COMMUNITY AND WE CAN TAKE DEEP DIVES INTO IMPORTANT LOCAL TOPICS.

ON TOP OF THAT, ALL KIND OF SERVICES FREE TO OUR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS.

NOBODY ELSE DOES THAT.

I WOULD SAY NOW IN THIS WORLD WE ARE MORE NECESSARY THAN EVER.

ALL OF THOSE SERVICES, HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THOSE WHO SAY THEY'RE GREAT, THEY'RE TERRIFIC, BUT DO WE NEED PUBLIC FUNDING FOR IT?

IF THEY'RE THAT GOOD, THE CORPORATIONS AND INDIVIDUAL VIEWERS WOULD PAY FOR IT.

BECAUSE IT BEGINS ON THE FLY WHEEL THAT STARTS PUBLIC FUNDING.

IT WAS RONALD REAGAN THAT SAID THE BEST PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP WAS PBS.

HE REALIZED WE COULD MULTIPLY IT BY FIVE OR SIX TEAMS.

IT IS THE FIRST INVESTMENT THAT IS SO CRITICAL.

THE FACT IS THERE ARE TLINGS WE CANNOT DO THAT OUR COMMERCIAL COMPETITORS CAN.

THERE'S A REASON YOU WATCH PROGRAMS UNINTERRUPTED BY COMMERCIALS BECAUSE WE DON'T TAKE THEM, AND THE ONES WE TAKE ARE SMALL AND LIMITED.

THE FACT IS WE DON'T GET ANY FEES FROM CABLE TELEVISION LIKE OUR COMPETITORS DO.

YES.

SO WE ARE UNIQUE, BUT TO HAVE ALL OF THE UNIQUE PROGRAMS IT IS A SMALL INVESTMENT.

WITHOUT IT, THIS FLY WHEEL I TALK ABOUT WOULD STOP SPINNING.

AND AS SMALL AS THE INVESTMENT IS, THERE'S ALSO THE ARGUMENT THAT, OKAY, IT IS SMALL, BUT WHY SHOULD ALL TAXPAYERS BE PAYING FOR THIS SERVICE THAT ONLY A SMALL PORTION OF THE POPULATION USES?

WELL, FIRST IT IS NOT A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE POPULATION.

THE LATEST FIGURE IS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 82 AND 85% OF THE POPULATION USE PBS.

I CAN'T THINK OF A GOVERNMENT SERVICE USED BY THAT MANY PEOPLE IN THAT PERCENTAGE.

ALL OF THE SURVEYS WE HAVE DONE BY REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC FIRMS SO THERE'S HUGE ACCEPTANCE OF THE VALUE OF PBS.

EVEN 75% OF TRUMP SUPPORTERS BELIEVE THERE'S VALUE IN PBS.

THE HOPE IS THAT OUR LEGISLATORS WILL REALIZE THAT AND THAT'S WHERE I THINK IF THEY CARE ABOUT US CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

WE WILL TALK ABOUT THAT.

BUT AS YOU MENTIONED AND AS YOU SAID IN A PIECE IN I THINK THE 'WALL STREET JOURNAL' OR MAYBE 'THE WASHINGTON POST.'

WE HAVE BEEN TO THIS PLAY BEFORE, WE HAVE SEEN IT BEFORE.

IN FACT, WAY BACK SINCE THE NIXON ADMINISTRATION, MANY REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATIONS HAVE TRIED TO ZERO OUT FUNDING FOR CPB.

AS YOU SAID, GEORGE W. BUSH ACTUALLY TRIED TO DO IT EVERY YEAR OF HIS EIGHT-YEAR TENURE.

THIS IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT?

THIS IS DIFFERENT?

THIS IS A DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT.

FIRST OF ALL THERE WAS A SAFETY SOMETIMES OR CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS TO VOTE FOR IT BECAUSE THEY KNEW THE DEMOCRATIC SENATE WOULD PUT IT BACK.

BUT THAT'S NOT TRUE ANYMORE.

SO THERE'S NO CERTAINTY.

THERE'S ALSO PROBABLY WASHINGTON HAS NEVER BEEN IN SUCH A WORLD AS IT IS NOW WITH SO MUCH UNCERTAINTY.

REPORTERS HAVE NEVER BEEN DEMONIZED AS MUCH AS NOW.

THERE'S A LOT MORE GOING ON.

I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT LEGISLATORS REALIZE THERE ARE NO SAFE VOTES HERE.

YOU CAN'T ASSUME IT WILL BE PROTECTED AND THAT'S WHY WE NEED EVERYONE TO RALLY AROUND IT.

I SHOULD SAY ON THE OTHER HAND THE REASON IT HAS COME BACK IS BECAUSE OUR LEGISLATORS RESPOND TO THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

IF THEY UNDERSTAND THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND PUBLIC TELEVISION, IF THEY DEMONSTRATE THROUGH SUPPORT OF US AND CALLING AND E-MAILING, IT WILL MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.

I WANT TO ASK YOU IN A SECOND WHAT OUR VIEWERS WHO ARE CONCERNED CAN DO.

PAINT A PICTURE FOR US.

IF THE ZERO FUNDING GOES THROUGH THIS TIME, WHAT HAPPENS?

WHAT HAPPENS TO PBS?

WHAT HAPPENS TO WNET?

IT WOULD BE CATASTROPHIC.

NOT JUST BECAUSE OF WNET BUT PUBLIC TELEVISION IS A SYSTEM WHERE ALL STATIONS DEPEND ON EACH OTHER.

THE REASON WE CAN DO A LOT OF OUR GREAT SHOWS IS BECAUSE THEY REACH THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.

REMEMBER, AS SOME STATIONS ARE MUCH MORE DEPENDENT, SOME STATIONS SIMPLY WILL GO OUT OF BUSINESS THE MOMENT THIS HAPPENS.

REALLY?

THE SYSTEM WILL START TO DECAY.

EVERYTHING -- I THINK STATIONS WILL DROP AWAY.

ALL OF THAT INVESTMENT WHICH IS THAT FLY WHEEL, THOSE WILL STOP.

SO MANY OF THE GREAT DOCUMENTARIES WE BRING YOU, WE DO BECAUSE WE HAVE A SMALL INVESTMENT FROM THE GOVERNMENT, THOSE WILL STOP.

THIS WILL BE TRULY CATASTROPHIC.

WE CAN'T ALLOW IT TO HAPPEN.

SO TELL US, WHAT SHOULD CONCERNED CITIZENS, REGULAR FOLKS WATCHING US RIGHT NOW, WHAT CAN THEY DO?

WELL, IF THEY GO TO THE WEBSITE METRO FOCUS.org, THEY WILL BE MORE DETAILED IN EASY WAYS TO DO IT.

OBVIOUSLY SHOWING SUPPORT FOR US, THE STATION IS IMPORTANT.

PEOPLE RESPOND TO THAT.

SENDING MESSAGES TO YOUR LEGISLATORS, CALLING AND E-MAILING.

THOSE THINGS COUNT.

THEY KEEP TRACK IN OFFICES.

WE WERE IN WASHINGTON THE OTHER DAY, THEY TOLD US THAT.

LETTING THEM KNOW WHATEVER IT IS, WHATEVER YOU VALUE, THAT'S IMPORTANT.

THERE'S ALSO SERVICE THAT CAN LET YOU KEEP TRACK OF THIS BECAUSE IT WILL BE A LONG, DRAWNOUT BATTLE.

THERE WILL BE HEARINGS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS AND FULL DEBATES IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE, AND ALL OF THOSE WAYS WE MAYO INDICATIONALLY SAY TO VIEWERS, IF YOU CARE NOW IS THE TIME TO REMIND YOUR LEGISLATORS WE'RE NOT GOING TO SIT BY AND LET IT HAPPEN.

I KNOW YOU'RE ALSO A REALIST.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO HAPPEN?

I THINK IT WILL BE A REAL BATTLE.

SOMETIMES AS I SAY IT IS TRULY UP TO OUR AUDIENCE.

PEOPLE LIKE ME CAN TALK ALL WE WANT ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT IT IS, BUT IT IS TRULY A THING WHERE RETAIL POLITICS MATTER.

IF OUR AUDIENCE WILL LET OUR LEGISLATORS KNOW WHAT THEY WANT, I'M CONFIDENT.

IF THEY ACQUIESCE AND SAY THINGS WILL BE FINE, I'M WORRIED.

ALL RIGHT.

NEIL, LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

I HOPE PEOPLE RESPOND.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANKS, RAF.

> BREAKING NEWS THIS MORNING INVOLVING MAYOR BILL de BLASIO AND THE TWO SEPARATE LONG-RUNNING INVESTIGATIONS INTO HIS FUNDRAISING.

THEY HAVE SAID THEY WILL NOT BRING CHARGES AGAINST THE MAYOR HIS AIDES.

THEY RELEASED THEIR CONCLUSIONS WITHIN MINUTES OF EACH OTHER, ENDING A YEAR-LONG SAGA FOR THE MAYOR AND ONE THAT HAD BEEN HANGING OVER HIS UPCOMING REELECTION CAMPAIGN.

THE FEDERAL INVESTIGATION WAS FOCUSED ON WHETHER THE MAYOR HIS AIDES ENGAGED IN QUID PRO QUO WITH DONORS.

TODAY'S CONCLUSION COMES LESS THAN A WEEK AFTER U.S. ATTORNEY PETE BARRARA WAS FIRED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP.

JOINING ME WITH MORE DETAILS ON TODAY'S ANNOUNCEMENT AND WHAT THEY MAY MEAN FOR THE MAYOR AND OUR CITY IS MY CO-HOST, FORMER PROSECUTOR JACK FORD.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK.

PLEASURE.

ALWAYS GREAT TALKING TO YOU.

EVEN IF SITTING IN THIS SEAT, IT IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE.

FIRST OF ALL, WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THESE ANNOUNCEMENTS TODAY?

I WAS NOT TERRIBLY SURPRISED BY THE DECISION NOT TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE CHARGES, BUT I DID FIND IT UNUSUAL, THE FACT THAT THEY WOULD MAKE A JOINT ANNOUNCEMENT ESSENTIALLY HERE AND THE FACT THAT IT WAS DONE NOW.

YOU KNOW, YOU DON'T SEE PROSECUTORS OFTEN COMING OUT AND MAKING A BIG PUBLIC STATEMENT, A GRAND STATEMENT ABOUT WHY THEY'RE NOT PROCEEDING.

YOU SEE THEM TALKING ABOUT WHY THEY'RE GOING TO PROCEED, BUT NOT OFTEN WHERE THEY COME OUT AND SAY WHY WE'RE NOT PROCEEDING.

THAT WAS UNUSUAL.

WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT?

WHY DID THEY MAKE ESSENTIALLY A JOINT ANNOUNCEMENT AND WHY DID THEY SAY THEY WEREN'T GOING TO PROSECUTOR?

I SUSPECT THEY WENT TO SCHOOL OFF WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE FBI AND THE FBI DIRECTOR AND WITH HILLARY CLINTON'S CAMPAIGN.

YOU WILL REMEMBER A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE SAYING, EVEN IF THERE WAS A REASON FOR THEM TO LOOK AT THIS, THAT THE ANNOUNCEMENTS THAT WERE MADE INTERFERED WITH THE ELECTION PROCESS.

WE HAVE HEARD THEM SAY HERE WE DON'T WANT TO BE INTERFERING WITH THE FAIRNESS OF THE PRESS, WE WANT IT TO BE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD.

SO IF, INDEED, WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE PROSECUTING A SITTING MAYOR, WE SHOULD LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT OUT OF A SENSE OF FAIRNESS SO THAT THE CAMPAIGN CAN MOVE FORWARD ON OTHER ISSUES.

AND THEY DON'T WANT TO GET THE TREATMENT THAT JAMES COMEY DID.

ABSOLUTELY.

WHETHER YOU WERE A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRATIC, YOU HAD TO LOOK AT THAT AND SAY IT IMPACTED THAT ELECTION, WHETHER IT WAS RIGHT OR WRONG IT DID APPARENTLY IMPACT IT.

I DON'T THINK THEY WANT TO BE IN THAT POSITION.

SO WHAT DO THE ANNOUNCEMENTS MEAN?

DOES IT MEAN THAT -- DO THEY MEAN THAT THE INVESTIGATIONS ARE OVER FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES?

THAT'S A REALLY GOOD QUESTION BECAUSE IT IS NOT -- TECHNICALLY IT IS NOT OVER.

THEY DIDN'T GO TO A GRAND JURY, THEY DIDN'T GO TO A TRIAL.

THEY DIDN'T GET EITHER A FINAL JUDGMENT BY JUDGE OR JURY.

WHAT THEY SAID IS WE'RE NOT MOVING FORWARD.

TECHNICALLY IF SOMETHING EVER SHOWED UP HERE THAT THEY HADN'T SEEN BEFORE, THAT SAID TO THEM, ALL RIGHT, NOW WE HAVE SOMETHING STRONGER HERE IN TERMS OF EVIDENCE, THEY COULD ALWAYS REOPEN THIS AS LONG AS IT IS WITHIN THE PERIOD OF THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.

PRACTICALLY SPEAKING, IT SOUNDS AS IF THEY HAVE LITERALLY TURNED OVER EVERY ROCK AND LOOKED EVERYWHERE THEY NEEDED TO LOOK HERE AND SAID, ALL RIGHT, BASED UPON A LOT OF CONSIDERATIONS WE'VE DECIDED NOT TO GO FORWARD.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THOSE CONSIDERATIONS?

I THINK THE MOST PROMINENT THING WAS THIS, AND YOU SAW ANTI-THE STATEMENT OF THE MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE BECAUSE THEY CAME OUT AND SAID, LOOK, THIS IS NOT WHERE WE'RE SAYING ABSOLUTELY INNOCENT.

THEY SAID, WE BELIEVE THAT THE CONDUCT HERE MAY WELL HAVE BEEN IN VIOLATION OF THE SPIRIT AT LEAST OF THE LAW.

RIGHT.

LET ME QUOTE.

SAID THAT THE MAYOR'S FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES APPEARED CONTRARY TO THE INTEREST AND SPIRIT OF THE LAWS THAT IMPOSE CANDIDATE CONTRIBUTION.

THAT'S PRETTY --

YES, I THINK THE MOST COMPELLING PART OF THE THING WAS THE MAYOR AND HIS AIDES SAID, WE WENT TO OUR LAWYERS AND ASKED IF IT WAS OKAY.

WE WENT TO THE APPROPRIATE CONFLICTS COMMISSIONS AND ASKED IF IT WAS OKAY.

THEY'RE USING WHAT IS USUALLY CALLED AN ADVICE OF COUNSEL DEFENSE TO ALL OF THIS.

THAT'S NOT AN ABSOLUTE DEFENSE.

YOU CAN'T WALK IN A COURTROOM AND SAID, MY LAWYER TOLD ME IT IS OKAY TO ROB THE BANK.

MY TAX ACCOUNTANT SAID IT IS OKAY TO DEDUCT THAT THING.

RIGHT.

IF YOU CAN SHOW GOOD FAITH RELIANCE ON YOUR PART ON THE ADVICE GIVEN BY A QUALIFIED ATTORNEY EVEN IF IT TURNS OUT THEY'RE WRONG, DOESN'T AUTOMATICALLY MEAN YOU WILL BE GUILTY.

IF I'M THE PROSECUTOR AND I SEE THAT PLAYING OUT, I REALIZE, YOU KNOW WHAT, IT IS GOING TO BE HARD FOR ME TO PROVE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT THE INTENTIONAL VIOLATION OF THESE RULES AND REGULATIONS IF, IN FACT, THEY WERE DOING WHAT APPARENTLY THEY DID, RELYING UPON THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL AND OTHER EXPERTS IN ORDER TO DO THIS.

NOW, DO YOU THINK IT WAS A PURE COINCIDENCE THAT THE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM IF U.S.

ATTORNEY'S OFFICE IN ANY EVENT CAME LESS THAN A WEEK AFTER BARRARA WAS FIRED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP?

I THINK IT IS CURIOUS.

I DON'T THINK IT WAS COMPELLED BY IT.

I THINK THEY WERE IN POSITION TO GET IT OUT THERE, GOING BACK TO WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT BEFORE.

IF YOU ARE THE PROSECUTOR YOU DON'T WANT TO TAKE ON A REALLY HIGH PROFILE CASE UNLESS YOU ARE PRETTY CONFIDENT YOU CAN WIN IT.

GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE TALKED ABOUT, ADVICE OF COUNSEL AND THAT TYPE OF THING, THEY PROBABLY LOOKED AT THIS AND SAID, LOOK, WE'RE NOT GOING TO MOVE FORWARD.

EVEN THOUGH WE THINK THERE MIGHT HAVE BEEN SOME VIOLATIONS -- AND THEY ALSO SAID THAT THE RULES WERE NOT VERY CLEAR.

SO THAT'S A SIGNAL TO GET THE RULES A LITTLE BIT BETTER.

I THINK THE FACT THAT HE LEFT, IT SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS PROBABLY A BIT OF A COINCIDENCE.

I DON'T THINK IT WAS DRIVEN BY THAT.

BY THE WAY, WITH HIM GONE, ALL OF THE INVESTIGATIONS HE WAS HEADING PARTICULARLY THE POLITICAL AND CORRUPT INVESTIGATIONS, WILL THEY KEEP GOING AS IF HE WAS THERE?

THE TOP PERSON IS THE PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTEE.

USUALLY THE REST FROM HIM ON DOWN ARE PROFESSIONAL PROSECUTORS.

HE AS THE U.S. ATTORNEY WAS NOT HANDLING FILES HIMSELF.

I DON'T MEAN TO DIMINISH HIS ROLE, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT, BUT HE IS NOT OUT THERE WITH THE FILES, INTERVIEWING WITNESSES, GOING TO THE GRAND JURY AND TRYING THE CASES.

THERE ARE TEAMS DOING THAT. WHEN YOU REMOVE THE STOP PERSON -- AND IT IS DESIGNED THAT WAYWHEN YOU REMOVE THE TOP PERSON IT DOESN'T KEEP THE TEAMS FROM CONTINUING TO FUNCTION.

A NEW U.S. ATTORNEY MIGHT SAY I'M TAKING A DIFFERENT DIRECTION ON SOME THINGS, BUT WOULD A NEW U.S. ATTORNEY SAY TO THESE TEAMS, TANK THAT, MAKE IT GO AWAY?

THAT DOESN'T USUALLY HAPPEN THAT WAY.

SO I GUESS NOBODY FEELS BETTER TODAY THAN MAYBE MAYOR BILL de BLASIO.

I'M SURE WHAT HE IS SAYING IS WE'VE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG WE THOUGHT WE DID IT THE RIGHT WAY, AND EVEN IF SOMEBODY DISAGREES WITH US AT LEAST IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED THAT WE DID, IN FACT, FOLLOW THE RULES AS WE UNDERSTOOD THEM GIVEN ADVICE OF COUNSEL HERE.

SO I'M SURE THE MAYOR'S OFFICE IS GOING TO SAY LET'S MOVE ON NOW AND FOCUS ON OTHER ISSUES AS THIS ELECTION COMES AROUND.

DO THE ANNOUNCEMENTS TODAY PROGRAMS INDICATE THAT MAYBE THESE INVESTIGATIONS SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN STARTED IN THE FIRST PLACE?

THAT'S REALLY INTERESTING BECAUSE IF YOU LOOK AT THE LANGUAGE THAT'S USED, ESPECIALLY THE LANGUAGE USED BY THE MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE LEGAL EXONERATION.

IT IS NOT A STATEMENT THAT SAYS THAT THE MAYOR AND HIS AIDES ARE ABSOLUTELY INNOCENT OF ANY OF THESE SUSPICIONS OR ALLEGATIONS.

WHAT THEY DID IS THEY CAME OUT AND SAID, LOOK, WE TOOK THIS AS FAR AS WE COULD.

YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER, PROSECUTORS' JOBS, IF SOMEBODY COMES TO THEM AND SAYS SOMETHING IS TAKING PLACE HERE AND WE DON'T THINK IT IS APPROPRIATE, YOUR JOB IS TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT AND THEN GO, AS A PROSECUTOR WILL ALWAYS SAY, WHERE THE FACTS TAKE YOU HERE.

I DON'T THINK YOU CAN PULL OUT OF THIS, WHETHER YOU ARE A SUPPORTER OF THE MAYOR NOT, YOU CAN'T PULL OUT OF THIS THE NOTION THAT THEY NEVER SHOULD HAVE LOOK AT THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE BECAUSE THEY SAY, WE GOT REAL CLOSE, WE JUST DON'T THINK WE COULD HAVE PROVED THIS BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

THAT'S THE HIGHEST STANDARD THAT THE LAW ALLOWS IN THE COURTROOM.

I DON'T THINK THEY'RE SAYING -- YOU LOOK AT THE LANGUAGE CLEARLY, THEY'RE NOT SAYING COMPLETE EXONERATION, SHOULDN'T HAVE STARTED IN THE FIRST PLACE, JUST WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TO MOVE FORWARD.

IF YOU READ BETWEEN THE LINES, PARTICULAR THE DA'S STARTS, THEY'RE SAYING, LISTEN, LAWMAKERS, YOU SHOULD MAKE THE LAWS MORE STRINGENT SO WE COULD PURCHASE SEE.

ABSOLUTELY SO.

THE LAWS AND GUIDELINES ARE FAIRLY UNCLEAR IN SOME OF THIS.

I THINK IN SOME WAYS IT IS A SHOT ACROSS THE BOW FROM THE D.A.'S OFFICE SAYING, YOU ALL HAVE TO GET BETTER AT CLARIFYING WHAT IS OKAY AND NOT OKAY.

BECAUSE IT IS TO THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC, TO THE BENEFIT OF THE POLL TIGS AND TO THE BENEFIT OF THE PROSECUTOR IF WE HAVE A BETTER AND MORE PRECISE SET OF RULES FOR US TO FOLLOW HERE.

AND WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE POLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS?

WILL WE BE HEARING ABOUT THIS DURING THE MERRILL ELECTION?

I DON'T THINK IT IS GOING AWAY.

LEGALLY IS IT GOING AWAY, YES.

POLITICALLY, NO.

I SUSPECT YOU WILL SEE THAT OPPONENTS OF THE MAYOR IN THE UPCOMING EITHER PRIMARY OR GENERAL ELECTION WILL BE PULLING LANGUAGE OUT OF THIS OPINION, ESPECIALLY WHERE THE MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY SAYS, WE BELIEVE THIS WAS NOT APPROPRIATE, THAT IT VIOLATED AT LEAST THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW AND THE INTENT OF THE LAW.

I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO SEE THAT IN A LOT OF CAMPAIGN ADVERTISEMENTS.

THE MAYOR ON THE OTHER SIDE IS GOING TO HAVE TO SAY, LOOK, THEY SAID WE RELIED UPON OUR ADVICE OF COUNSEL, THAT'S WHAT WE DID, SO LET'S MOVE FORWARD.

LET'S GET BEYOND THIS.

BUT IT IS POLITICS.

NOTHING EVER GOES AWAY.

QUICKLY IN ABOUT 15 SECONDS, OTHER POLITICIANS LOOKING AT THIS, LEARNING LESSONS FROM THIS?

I THINK SO.

THAT'S WHY I THINK THE D.A. PUT UT OUT THERE, THE REST OF YOU BETTING LOOK A SECOND AND YOU FIRD AND FOURTH TIME BEFORE YOU DO THESE THINGS.

ALL RIGHT, JACK.

> TOMORROW, MANY IRISH NEW YORKERS WILL BE MARCHING DOWN 5th AVENUE IN THE ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE.

PROBABLY THE PROUDEST WILL BE THE LBGT GROUP.

THEY WON A HISTORIC GROUP BECOMING THE FIRST IRISH LBGTQ GROUP TO MARCH IN THE PARADE.

IT ENDED A BOYCOTT OF THE PARADE WHICH BEGAN IN 1991 WHEN THEY APPLIED TO MARCH AND WERE DENIED.

AFTER PROTESTS AND ARRESTS OVER THE YEARS, LAST YEAR THEY GOT TO FINALLY MARCH ALONGSIDE BILL de BLASIO WHO SUPPORTED THEM AND PREVIOUSLY BOYCOTTED THE PARADE DURING HIS PREVIOUS TWO YEARS AS MAYOR.

THIS YEAR GIVEN THE DIVISIVE ELECTION, THEIR INCLUSION WILL BE ESPECIALLY MONUMENTAL.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

IT IS GREAT TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU.

SO THAT IS QUITE A BATTLE THAT YOU GUYS WAGED, 25 YEARS.

WHY WAS IT WORTH IT?

25 YEARS.

I THINK, AND WE ARRIVED HERE AS IMMIGRANTS, IT IS NATURAL THAT WE WOULD SEEK OUT OUR OWN COMMUNITY.

WE HAD ALREADY BEEN AS IRISH LGBT PEOPLE WE FOUND OUR PLACE IN THE NEW YORK CITY PRIDE PARADE.

YOU SEE, PARADES MATTER.

THEY'RE HUMAN RITUALS WHERE -- IN FACT, AS GAY PEOPLE THEY'RE OFTEN WHERE WE FIND A COMMUNITY FOR THE FIRST TIME.

SO PARADES ARE VERY IMPORTANT GATHERINGS IN THIS CITY.

EVERYBODY HAS THEIR MOMENT ON THE AVENUE.

ON MARCH 17th IT IS THE IRISH MOMENT, AND WE AS LGBT IRISH, THAT'S WHERE WE BELONG, AMONG OUR OWN PEOPLE, CELEBRATING OUR HERITAGE AND CULTURE.

LITTLE DID WE KNOW THAT WE WOULD BE REJECTED, AND MANY OF US SPENT MANY A ST. PATRICK DAY BEING ARRESTED.

IT WAS YEARS OF PROTESTS AND ARRESTS.

BUT ALSO I LOOK BACK NOW, AND MANY OF US OFTEN SPEAK ABOUT MAYOR DAVID DINKINS.

REALLY?

AS A MODEL OF AN EXAMPLE OF HIS SOLIDARITY AND HIS SUPPORT IN 1991 WHEN WE WERE -- FOR A BRIEF MOMENT WE WERE ON THE AVENUE.

THERE WAS SO MUCH HATE, SO MUCH SCREAMS.

THAT BEGAN THIS MOVEMENT OF -- IT AWAKENED A DETERMINATION IN US TO CHALLENGE THIS HOMOPHOBIA, THIS PREJUDICE, THIS FEAR UNTIL WE WOULD GET OUR PLACE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

SO WHAT WAS IT LIKE FINALLY BEING ABLE TO MARCH IN THE PARADE?

OH, LAST YEAR THERE WAS HUNDREDS OF US.

IN FACT, SOME OF US SAID WE -- WE HAD GROWN OLD WITH THE MOVEMENT.

WE DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD TAKE 25 YEARS.

WHEN WE STEPPED OFF FROM 48th STREET ON TO 5th AVENUE, THERE WAS ABOUT 300 OF US.

THERE WAS THE MAYOR, EDDIE WINDSOR, AND MANY OF US WERE MOVED TO TEARS BECAUSE WE REALIZED SOME DIED ALONG THE WAY WHO WISHED FOR THIS MOMENT.

BUT WE WERE SO HAPPY.

WE WERE JOYOUS.

IT WAS A GREAT MOMENT, NOT JUST FOR THE LGBT IRISH, NOT JUST FOR LAVENDER AND GREEN, FOR THIS CITY, FOR THE IRISH COMMUNITY.

AT LONG LAST WE HAD ARRIVED AT THE MOMENT WHEN WE WERE ALL TOGETHER ON THE AVENUE.

WELL, THEN GOING FORWARD NOW, BECAUSE THE POLITICAL CLIMATE HAS CHANGED DRASTICALLY IN THE SPACE OF SIX MONTHS.

YES.

SO WHAT DO YOU SEE THIS PARADE MEANING IN ITS MESSAGE?

WELL, I THINK IT IS A VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE.

AS IRISH PEOPLE WE JUST -- ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS REMEMBER WHERE WE CAME FROM, OUR OWN STRUGGLES, OUR OWN BEGINNINGS, OUR OWN HISTORY AS REFUGEES AND COMPILES -- AND EXILES AND IMMIGRANTS ARRIVING HERE.

AS LGBT WE HAVE KNOWN PREJUDICE AND EXCLUSION, SO IT IS SOMETHING WE SHARE AS A PEOPLE.

IT MAKES SENSE HOSPITALITY AND INCLUSION MEANS SO MUCH TO US AND IS IMPORTANT TO US.

THIS PARADE FOR US AND OUR INCLUSION IN IT SPEAKS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF WELCOME, OF INCLUSION, OF HOSPITALITY.

THAT'S SOMETHING WE STRUGGLED FOR, WE FOUGHT FOR, AND NOW WE CELEBRATE.

NOW WE'RE GOING TO HOLD ON TO IT FOR THE FUTURE.

SO THIS IS SOMETHING WE CAN EXPECT TO CONTINUE TO SEE GOING FORWARD?

OH, YEAH.

EVERYBODY -- YOU KNOW, WE HAVE ALREADY HAD, YOU KNOW, HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE REGISTERING ON OUR WEBSITE, LAVENDERANDGREENALLIANCE.org, AND ON FRIDAY PEOPLE WILL SEE PEOPLE WHO ARE SO HAPPY JUST TO BE ON THE AVENUE AND WHO WILL BE REMEMBERING FRIENDS WHO STRUGGLED FOR THIS PLACE OF EQUALITY IN OUR OWN COMMUNITY, TO HOLD OUR BANNER THAT SAYS LAVENDER AND GREEN ALLIANCE, CELEBRATING IRISH LESBIAN, GUY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER, YOU KNOW, CULTURE AND HERITAGE.

AND TO BE THERE WITH LEADERS LIKE TARLOCK FROM BELFAST, MALAKI McCORD, EVERY GROUP IN THE ST. PATRICK'S PARADE GETS TO PICK THEIR GROUP MASTER, SOMEONE THAT REPRESENTS OUR SPIRIT.

OURS IS MALAKI McCORD.

THAT'S QUITE A PERSON TO REPRESENT YOUR SPIRIT.

IT IS.

WHERE WILL YOU BE FOR ST.

PATRICK'S DAY?

YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE THERE.

NO, I'M NOT.

I'M EXCITED TO BE WELCOME WILLED BACK TO IRELAND TO MY HOMETOWN TO BE GRAND MARSHAL OF THE ST.

PATRICK'S PARADE THERE.

IT IS VERY MOVING.

THE TOWN THAT I LEFT BACK IN THE '80s WHEN IT WAS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE TO BE GAY, WHERE WE WERE EXCLUDED.

SO I'M RETURNING HOME TO A TRANSFORM AND CHANGED IRELAND, WHERE LGBT PEOPLE HAVE ACTUALLY MARCHED IN ST. PATRICK'S PA RAIDS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

WHERE ON MAY 22nd, 2015 THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND VOTED TO EXTEND EQUALITY TO SAME SEX QUALITIES.

I AM GOING BACK TO A COUNTRY THAT HAS LAWS FOR TRANSGENDER PERSONS.

I'M PROUD THAT MY HOMETOWN IN IRELAND IS SAYING WELCOME HOME, WE CELEBRATE YOU, WE WANT YOU TO LEAD OUR ST. PATRICK'S PARADE.

IT IS GOING TO BE A GREAT DADE TO BE WITH MY FAMILY AND MY SPOUSE, TOM, WHO WILL BE COMING HOME WITH ME.

SO IN A WAY IT REFLECT FOR ME AN INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT FOR INCLUSION AND EQUALITY.

AND IT WILL BE QUITE THE CELEBRATION, BOTH WHILE EVERYBODY IS HERE ON 5th AVENUE I WILL BE CELEBRATING AND SENDING A CHEER FROM IRELAND.

THAT SOUNDS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL.

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU FOR MAKING YOUR STORY COME FULL CIRCLE.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THOUGH -- FOR YOUR TRAVELS.

[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE].

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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