Albany, NY – As one of his last acts before leaving office on Monday, now-former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo commuted the sentence of the San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s cop-killer father.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is the son of Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, two members of The Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist organization. They were convicted of murdering two police officers and a Brinks security guard during an armed robbery in 1981, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Boudin was 14 months old when both of his parents left him with a sitter while they committed an armored car robbery in upstate New York, NBC News reported.
After his parents went to prison, he was raised by The Weather Underground’s leaders, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, in a life of privilege that led him to Yale University.
After college, Boudin won a Rhodes scholarship and then worked as a translator for the late Communist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, according to NBC News.
“Growing up, I had to go through a metal detector and steel gates just to give my parents a hug,” Boudin said in one of his campaign videos.
His mother was released from prison in 2003 after serving 22 years for the murders, but his father remained behind bars serving life in prison, NBC News reported.
Gilbert is now housed at the maximum security Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, the Times Union reported.
Steve Zeidman, Gilbert’s attorney, said his client is one of the oldest and longest serving inmates in the state’s prison system.
Gilbert represented himself at trial, which his district attorney son has blamed for an unfair sentence, the Times Union reported.
“My father was not present in the courtroom for much of the trial and nobody advocated for him, which is why it is a bad idea to represent yourself,” Boudin said in interview. “My mother and father did the exact same thing and had identical culpability in the crime. My mother served 22 years in prison and was paroled 17 years ago, while my father is still in prison. It’s an example of criminal justice imbalance.”
Boudin very publicly lobbied the New York governor for clemency for his father, the New York Post reported.
On Aug. 23, just hours before he left office, Cuomo commuted Gilbert’s sentence and referred him to the parole board for release, the Times Union reported.
Me and my dad in one of our last precious moment of freedom together. pic.twitter.com/ZaOYdn1tx4
— Chesa Boudin 博徹思 (@chesaboudin) August 24, 2021
The move allows Gilbert to make his case to the New York State Board of Parole.
In his announcement, Cuomo praised Gilbert’s “significant contributions to AIDS education and prevention programs” and his efforts as “a student tutor, law library clerk, paralegal assistant, a teacher’s aide, and an aide for various additional facility programs,” the New York Post reported.
The governor’s announcement was met with outrage by families and victims of Gilbert and The Weather Underground.
“It’s absurd,” retired Nyack Police Detective Arthur Keenan Jr., who was wounded in the shootout with Gilbert’s crew, told The New York Times.
Keenan said Cuomo “is stabbing all of law enforcement in the back, and when I say all, I’m talking about federal, state, local — all across the whole country — because he’s a traitor.”
Rockland County Executive Ed Day was furious, The New York Times reported.
“As if victimizing 11 women, including members of his own staff, was not despicable enough, his commutation of the 75-years-to-life sentence of David Gilbert is a further assault on the people of Rockland and New York State,” Day said in a statement. “Andrew Cuomo continues to focus on the well-being of murderers rather than the victims of these horrible offenses.”
Cuomo formally submitted his resignation paperwork at 8:50 p.m. on Aug. 23 and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul became the first woman governor of New York at midnight.