Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe won’t seek a sixth term, his office announced Wednesday morning. A former Dennis Police officer, O’Keefe and his office gained national attention during the investigation and trial of the Christa Worthington murder in Truro.
O’Keefe gained notoriety on the Vineyard when he defended Laura Marshard, an ADA who worked primarily out of the Dukes County Courthouse, after her Board of Bar Overseers finding of prosecutorial misconduct was upheld by a justice of the state supreme court.
O’Keefe was at the center of a federal grand jury investigation that involved his alleged association with known gamblers. That investigation never resulted in charges against O’Keefe.
He leaves behind a legacy of assistant district attorneys who have gone on to become judges, including his first assistant, Brian Glenny, who was the most recent nominee to the bench.
In a brief telephone interview with The Times, O’Keefe said it was “still premature” to suggest a successor. “There’s so much young talent in this office,” O’Keefe said. “We’ll see what percolates up.”
O’Keefe, who is 71, ruled out a judgeship as his next act, and didn’t specifically speak to whether he might seek a university post. “I’m just going to finish this term, and these kinds of things will take care of themselves,” O’Keefe said.
As far as what he wanted to get done before the end of his term, O’Keefe pointed to something already accomplished. “I was very happy this year to have [ADA] Mike Trudeau successfully prosecute the individual who shot Officer [Sean] Gannon,” O’Keefe said.
On the Vineyard, O’Keefe said the investigation of the 3-year-old who died in a pool at the Field Club in Edgartown remains a priority. “That has been something that this office has spent an enormous amount of time on,” O’Keefe said. “We’re not done yet.”
O’Keefe lamented the halt to jury trials for a second time during the pandemic, and said it hampers the ability to resolve cases. O’Keefe said he was “very disappointed in the leadership of the court throughout the pandemic.”
For the most part, O’Keefe said, not much will change over the next year. “We’ll continue to serve the people of the Cape and the Islands as we always have,” he said.
In a brief press release, O’Keefe thanked those he’s worked with, part and parcel with thanking his constituents.
“It has been the honor of my professional life to have been elected five times by the voters of the Cape & Islands and to have led an office of professional and dedicated prosecutors. After much reflection, I have decided not to seek a sixth term as district attorney,” the release states. “I must say that neither myself nor the assistant district attorneys who work in this office could be effective at this job without the excellent support staff, victim witness assistants, and police agencies who serve all of us every day. In the time remaining in this term, we will continue to serve the people of Cape Cod and the Islands. To the voters, I say a heartfelt thank you for placing your trust in me over these many years.”