Charlotte Bismuth served as an assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office for seven years, from 2008 until 2015. She was hired as a lateral from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where she had worked since 2004 as an associate in the litigation department. At the DA’s Office, Ms. Bismuth was first assigned to the Appeals Unit, where she defended convictions and argued before the Appellate Division, First Department. In 2010, she transferred to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (“OSNP”), where she was assigned to Trial Bureau 30/60.
As an OSNP line assistant in 2010, Ms. Bismuth took on her first prescription pill case. By the end of the year, she was working on a massive new investigation into the illegal prescription business of a Queens physician, Dr. Stan Li. In partnership with two legendary veterans of the office, Senior Investigator Joe Hall and Special Assistant District Attorney Peter Kougasian, Ms. Bismuth steered the Li case from civilian tip, a three-year investigation, two grand jury proceedings and a four-month trial in 2004. The case resulted in a landmark conviction, as Dr. Li was the first physician in New York State to be charged and convicted for the overdose deaths of his patients.
In 2014, after the Li trial, Ms. Bismuth served as the OSNP’s Director of Training, a position in which she trained assistants, organized lecture programs, participated in the Manhattan DA’s Office Brady/Giglio committee (under the leadership of Mr. Darrow), and upgraded the Office’s training software. In her work as Director of Training, Ms. Bismuth aimed to incorporate awareness of work-family balance and lawyering styles, as well as recognition and respect for all staff members in prosecutorial offices.
Ms. Bismuth left the practice of law at the end of 2015 to spend time with her family and write a book. “Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher,” the story of the Li investigation and trial, will be released on June 2, 2020, by Simon & Schuster. A percentage of the author’s proceeds from the book will be donated to the FedUp! Coalition. She is also partnering with the Coalition to inform its members about the Purdue bankruptcy proceedings and other opioid-related civil cases.
As an ADA, Ms. Bismuth presented a popular lecture on Prosecutorial Ethics to Brooklyn Law School students. As Director of Training, she lectured all incoming New York County assistants on narcotics prosecutions. Ms. Bismuth and Mr. Kougasian also presented the case of Dr. Stan Li to a committee of the New York City Bar Association.
Ms. Bismuth is a graduate of Columbia College, Sciences-Po Paris and Columbia Law School. Her public service began before law school, at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board. She is fluent in French.
In 2011, the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor honored Ms. Bismuth for her exceptional contributions.