Former Marion County prosecutor Carl Brizzi dies

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Carl Brizzi

Attorney Carl Brizzi, who served two terms as Marion County prosecutor and frequently courted controversy during his career as a lawyer and politician, died Wednesday at age 53.

A family spokesman said Brizzi, who lived in Fishers and was an of-counsel attorney at Lewis and Wilkins LLP. suffered a stroke Wednesday afternoon and died later at the Heart Hospital in Carmel.

Brizzi was known as a political up-and-comer who had a high conviction rate, especially for narcotics and sex-crimes cases, when he served as Marion County prosecutor from 2003-2011. He was named one of IBJ’s Forty Under 40 recipients in 2004 for his work in the office.

But negative headlines became common for Brizzi starting late in his stint as prosecutor.

Brizzi was born in Brooklyn, New York, and received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Indiana University and law degree from Valparaiso University.

His entry into politics came through the Prosecutor’s Office. In 1994, he volunteered for Republican Prosecutor Scott Newman’s campaign. After Newman won, Brizzi started working in the office.

He then worked as a senior investigative counsel in Congress and opened a private practice before eventually seeking the Prosecutor’s Office in 2002.

Brizzi told IBJ in 2020 that he was proud of the prevention and protection programs he oversaw in office to increase child support, mentor youth and educate school children about gun violence.

“I wanted to make a difference,” Brizzi said. “Policy mattered to me.”

In 2009, while Brizzi was Marion County prosecutor, he came under fire for investing in public companies connected to embattled businessman Tim Durham, who happened to be a friend and big donor. Durham was later convicted of fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme.

In 2010, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding an officer’s injury at a 2008 fundraiser for Brizzi.

Carl Brizzi in 2019

In 2012, he was sued by former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White for legal malpractice. And in 2013, he escaped prosecution after a three-year federal investigation of an unusual real estate deal in Elkhart that unraveled.

In 2017, he had his law license suspended for 30 days for representing a client in a case in which he had a personal interest.

Brizzi acknowledged his mistakes in 2020 when he unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination in the highly contested 5th Congressional District primary.

Brizzi said life was “legitimately terrible back then,” but he was glad all of that happened to him. And he said his experiences made him a better candidate.

“I’ve been through the trenches,” he told IBJ. “I don’t think anyone has been more investigated or vetted than I have been, so I see it as a plus.”

He practiced law in private practice after leaving the Prosecutor’s Office, mostly business litigation.

He also had his own podcast, radio show and blog to share his thoughts about the latest political issues.

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27 thoughts on “Former Marion County prosecutor Carl Brizzi dies

    1. Completely uncalled for Micah.

      He has family and friends and others who loved him dearly.

      Show the world that you have not succumbed to its most vile nature with your sarcastic and indifferent post for all to read.

  1. To people like Micah and Stephen, I find it absolutely despicable that you would post such comments. As Don pointed out, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it – very simple rule to live by in life. While I never met Carl Brizzi and while certainly a lot of news about him seemed to be on the negative side, he was a human being who like many of us had his flaws but I’m sure he had people in his life he did good things for and who loved him. For you to make insensitive and flippant comments about his death shows your maturity level. I hope he rests in peace.

    1. I’m with you Michael! Carl was dear to me. These kind of people were never his kind or my kind. I will see you again Carl…you got to heaven first but we will all see you again soon!

  2. Carl was dear to me. My prayers are with Kim and his son and girls. They are precious! We will all see him again but we are left here in the waiting. Carl was a man like the rest of us, un-perfect but redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. I admired him and loved his deep conviction for GOOD. He will be missed by the Hockett family and by his friends at AutoNerd. He is dear to my kids and to my wife…our love to his family! We weep with you…

  3. He was close to some shady deals. To a man I would say he wasn’t trustworthy, but really, what do we (the keyboard warriors) know about him beyond the headlines? He had children, people who loved him, and who knows if over time we would’ve found him to be not only rehabilitated but a major force for good in this community. All of you cold-as-ice jerks saying “Next!” and “Oh well” need to think about your own heart, your own legacy, and how you’d want others to react to your demise.

  4. Carl Brizzi was a loyal friend, a good father, and a guy that had a true and sincere passion for serving the People of Indiana. He was a fun person, very personable, and his own man. There will never be another one like him. He will be missed.

  5. I came to like Carl a lot when I covered him back when we was an investigator for Rep. Dan Burton in the late 1990s. He had a great snarky sense of humor about himself and the political scene at the time. I hardly ever quoted him but he often provided context and, frankly, candor, about what was going on at the time, particularly among the neocons and conservative ideologues in Congress. I seldom agreed with his world view, but it didn’t matter. My role as a journalist was to report facts and objective developments related to Burton’s investigations as chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee. My sense is he was a good, aggressive prosecutor in Indianapolis. Of course he was a fallible as a public person. Who isn’t? His flaw might have been his ambition and lack of connection to Indiana mainstream Republicans at the time. His passing is sad and I wish his friends and loved ones comfort. May he rest peacefully.

  6. IBJ— Do have any standards whatsoever or does it very by political party? Someone that posts “next” or “oh well” should lose the ability to post comments in your product.
    I want an answer. If you support this, I am going to stop paying for your bile

    1. If this offends you, you should see what the lowlifes in the IndyStar comments section are posting about his death.

    2. Chuck, we don’t want to lose you as a reader, but if we banned everybody who made a rude, tasteless comment about a public figure, we would lose a vast number of our commenters. Carl Brizzi was a huge proponent of free speech and a big opponent of restricting speech and opinions that others found offensive. He discussed that very topic frequently during his recent political campaign. The good thing about our comment boards is you can tell readers who make such comments how you feel about it.

    3. Jeff,

      So what is the reasoning for deleting my comment in defense of Brizzi – and letting the comment replied to stand? I’d love to see you you spin this rapid descent the IBJ is taking into becoming a hypocritical rag and puff piece factory.

  7. Chuck you probably would enjoy living in china with their freeness of speech standards.
    Well all i can say is it’s when you pass what people think of you that’s important. As we’re seeing.

  8. Murray, your comment was removed because you called another reader a profanity. Calling other readers names and using profanity will usually get your comment removed.