Less than two months after he took office, City Attorney Larry Manzanares resigned his position Tuesday following an exclusive 7NEWS investigation into a stolen laptop that was found in his home.
Manzanares notified the mayor's office of his decision on Tuesday.
In a statement, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper accepted the resignation saying, "We fully respect Larry's decision and wish him and his family the very best during this difficult time. The fact that he did not want the ongoing investigation or questions surrounding this situation to interfere with the important work of the City Attorney's Office speaks to the character and integrity he demonstrated during his respected career as an attorney and District Court judge."
In a statement to 7NEWS regarding his resignation, Manzanares said, "Current events which have been highlighted by the media have created an untenable distraction for the mayor's office and the position of Denver city attorney. The position of city attorney should be uncompromised by such distractions, and it would be unfair to the city and to the many fine attorneys in the City Attorney's Office to allow such a situation to continue.
"Therefore, I believe it is in the best interests of the city and the City Attorney's Office that I resign my position as city attorney. I have had very many well-wishers and supporters encourage me to ride out the storm, and while I am grateful for their support, I believe the continued effectiveness of the City Attorney's Office must come first," he said.
In light of 7NEWS' story, which broke on Friday night, Denver's mayor initially placed Manzanares on "investigatory leave" and promoted deputy city attorney Arlene Dykstra to acting city attorney over the weekend.
Dykstra will continue as acting city attorney until the mayor can appoint a new city attorney, the mayor's office said.
Manzanares remains under criminal investigation after a laptop belonging to Denver District Court was found in his home. Manzanares told 7NEWS that he bought the laptop from a stranger in the parking lot of the City and County Building and he had no idea that the computer was stolen.
"When I was informed that there was a computer that was stolen and that it might be one that I had, I immediately brought it back because, until that point, I had no idea. The minute I learned that there was a stolen computer, I brought it in," Manzanares said.
Manzanares said he did not take the computer from the City and County Building. He said he bought the computer sometime in mid-January from a man who said he needed to sell the laptop to help with bail money.
Manzanares said he did not know the man but could pick him out of a lineup.
"The honest truth is I do feel foolish. I hope we're not measured by our mistakes but instead by the ... you know, the career that I've had for many years, a distinguished career. I hope that's how people think of me, but you know, I did something which is not very smart -- which is I bought a computer in a parking lot," Manzanares said.
7NEWS has also learned that a special prosecutor from Jefferson County has been appointed to investigate the case to avoid conflicts of interest. A representative for the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office said there's no timetable on when the investigation will be complete but that they "will move on it quickly."
The computer was stolen from a storage room in Denver District Court, where Manzanares was a former judge. The computer is worth more than $1,500, according to a police report.
Manzanares' friends and colleagues were baffled by the investigation. They describe him as hard-working, smart man with integrity and character.
Hickenlooper appointed Manzanares on Nov. 11 and he took office Jan. 4.
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