Kenneth P. Thompson is a founding partner of Thompson Wigdor LLP.
As an experienced trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor, Mr. Thompson has litigated a wide range of employment discrimination cases and criminal matters in both federal and state courts. Mr. Thompson’s trials and investigations have resulted in a number of television and newspaper interviews, including interviews on The Today Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC and the Fox News Channel. See Press and Other Notables.
At trial, Mr. Thompson has obtained jury verdicts in the millions, including a nearly $8 million dollar verdict in a sexual harassment and retaliation trial in Manhattan federal court. He also obtained an acquittal at trial of a video store manager who was facing 135 years in prison because he was falsely accused of committing multiple rapes, sexual assaults and other sex offenses by six female employees who testified at trial. In addition, Mr. Thompson successfully defended a client at a trial in Brooklyn federal court who was charged by federal prosecutors with smuggling almost a kilogram of heroin into the United States through J.F.K. International Airport.
In an employment discrimination trial, the federal judge presiding over the trial said to Mr. Thompson on the record, “I will say flat out. You are one of the best trial lawyers I have seen.” Another federal judge also noted Mr. Thompson’s abilities on the record, stating “You’re an excellent lawyer, and I have said that privately and I say that publicly.”
Mr. Thompson served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. As a federal prosecutor, he successfully investigated and prosecuted hundreds of federal criminal cases, ranging from murder to bank fraud. Mr. Thompson’s impressive record includes a number of convictions at trial and successful investigations and prosecutions of bank robbery, murder-for-hire, bribery, embezzlement, kidnapping and other offenses. He also received numerous awards from the FBI and NYPD and was recognized by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for his outstanding contributions.
Mr. Thompson’s role in the successful investigation and prosecution of New York City police officers for the brutal beating and torture of Abner Louima — one of the most horrific cases of police brutality in the history of New York City — was just one of his highlights while in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Following Mr. Thompson’s powerful opening statement at the Louima trial, noted newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin, echoed the sentiment of many observers in the courtroom and reported that Ken Thompson “delivered an opening statement that will be remembered.” See Abner Louima Trial Opening Statement. Most important, Mr. Thompson’s formidable trial skills and dedication to the prosecution contributed to former Police Office Justin Volpe pleading guilty in the middle of the trial and to the jury convicting former Police Officer Charles Scwharz of violating Abner Louima’s civil rights. In addition to his trial work, he assisted in briefing then FBI Director Louis Freeh on the status of the Louima investigation.
Some of Mr. Thompson’s other significant accomplishments as a federal prosecutor include obtaining murder-in-aid-of–racketeering and robbery convictions at trial of a violent gang that committed more than 20 armed robberies at banks throughout the city and shot and murdered several bank customers. Mr. Thompson also successfully investigated and prosecuted a contract killer who carried out a brazen murder in Queens on behalf of a Colombian drug cartel and a bank robber who terrorized bank tellers and bank customers throughout the New York metropolitan area. He also conducted hundreds of grand jury investigations, negotiated countless plea agreements, engaged in extensive motion practice, and argued before the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
After entering private practice, Mr. Thompson continued his successful trial work as an attorney at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, where he practiced employment law. At Morgan Lewis, he was uniformly regarded as one of the best trial lawyers at the firm, and he solidified this reputation by winning trials in both federal and state courts on behalf of clients, including a complex two-week jury trial in New York State Supreme Court for a prominent anesthesiologist who was being sued by six other doctors. While at Morgan Lewis, Mr. Thompson also provided sexual harassment prevention training to nationally known television anchors and producers, as well as to corporate attorneys and other executives. He also conducted and defended numerous depositions throughout the country and represented clients before the EEOC and the New York State Division of Human Rights.
In addition to this trial and employment law experience, Mr. Thompson has participated in some of the country’s most prominent, high-profile investigations. For example, he was a member of the Treasury Department’s Waco Administrative Review, which conducted the investigation ordered by then President Bill Clinton of the raid on the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas by federal agents, in which four federal agents were killed and 20 others shot and seriously wounded. As a member of the Waco Administrative Review, Mr. Thompson was one of the attorneys who drafted the official report on the Waco incident, known as the “Waco Report,” which was submitted to President Clinton. Many have praised the Waco Report as a model for government investigations. The Washington Post called it “[a] thorough and candid account of a… law enforcement disaster.” The New York Times also weighed in, describing the Waco Report as “brutally detailed.” See Press and Other Notables. Mr. Thompson also assisted in preparing the Secretary of the Treasury for his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee concerning alleged improper contacts between Treasury officials and White House counsel over the Whitewater Investigation.
Apart from his roles in the Waco and Whitewater investigations, Mr. Thompson was also one of the federal prosecutors who conducted the complex and lengthy grand jury investigation of the events surrounding the beating and torture of Abner Louima, which resulted in the indictment of five New York City police officers. He also supervised an undercover investigation of bribes and illegal drug sales of heroin, cocaine and methadone committed at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Brooklyn, which led to the arrest of 20 hospital employees and patients. The arrests in that case were widely reported by The New York Times.
Mr. Thompson also served as Special Assistant to former Treasury Department Undersecretary for Enforcement Ronald K. Noble, who is now the Secretary General of Interpol, the international police organization based in Lyon, France. He also worked as an attorney in the General Counsel’s Office of the Treasury Department under Robert McNamara, Jr., who went on to become the General Counsel of the CIA. As a Treasury attorney, Mr. Thompson provided legal and policy advice on national security and other issues relating to the Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, Customs Service, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and several other law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Thompson earned his law degree in 1992 from New York University School of Law, where he received the prestigious Arthur T. Vanderbilt Medal for outstanding contributions to NYU Law School, and a B.A., magna cum laude, from John Jay College. Following law school, he served as a federal law clerk for the former Chief Judge of the Western District of Michigan. He also worked for United States District Judge Robert P. Patterson, Jr. in the Southern District of New York, for two New York State Supreme Court Justices, and at the New York State Legislature. In addition, Governor Andrew Cuomo has appointed Mr. Thompson to serve on his Judicial Screening Committee for the First Department and the Court of Claims Judicial Screening Committee.
He is admitted to the New York State Bar, the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.