Born and raised in New York City, Charles Brandt is the grandson of Italian immigrants who could not read or write any language, but were his lifelong inspiration; and the son of parents whose schooling stopped at the 8th grade due to family finances.
Brandt graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1959. On graduation from the University of Delaware in 1963, he became a junior high English teacher in Queens, then a Welfare investigator in East Harlem. On graduation from Brooklyn Law School in 1969, he became a prosecutor in Delaware at a time of lawlessness and new court rules restricting police work, when prosecutors were assigned to investigate homicides before an arrest was made. Adept at interrogation, he was promoted to Chief Deputy Attorney General, his state’s second highest law enforcement officer.
Brandt wrote The Right to Remain Silent (1988), a detective novel based on major cases he solved, and it was praised by President Ronald Reagan. On leaving the office in 1976, Brandt had four men on death row. He then defended major homicide cases, such as the President of the Pagan motorcycle club accused of killing two witnesses in New Jersey.
Brandt then transitioned to plaintiffs’ medical malpractice. The Philly mob retained him to secure the early release from jail on medical grounds of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, the prime suspect in the Hoffa case. They became friends, and Brandt traveled in Mafia circles with Sheeran for close to 5 years. He used his interrogation skills and Sheeran’s remorse to solve the major homicides of Hoffa, Crazy Joey Gallo and President Kennedy for the true crime I HEARD YOU PAINT HOUSES. Martin Scorsese is directing a film version adapted by Oscar winning screenwriter Steve Zaillian and starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
Brandt became friends with FBI agents Joe Pistone, the undercover Mafia wrecking ball with whom he co-wrote Donnie Brasco: Unfinished Business (2007), and Lin DeVecchio, the intrepid supervisor of the Mafia Commission Case with whom he co-wrote We’re Going to Win This Thing (2011).
Brandt and his wife Nancy have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. They live in Delaware and Idaho. He is working on a new Mafia book and is in demand as a public speaker.