Ex-Prosecutor Says Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg Jr. Donald Thought Indicting Trump Was Too Risky

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  revillug  •  2 months ago  •  18 comments

By:   Jose Pagliery (The Daily Beast)

Ex-Prosecutor Says Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg Jr. Donald Thought Indicting Trump Was Too Risky
"I think it was a case that should have been brought," said Mark Pomerantz, a special prosecutor on the case who quit earlier this year.

"I think it was a case that should have been brought. And I'm asking you to accept for the moment that, first, I believe that Donald Trump, in fact, was guilty and, second, that there was sufficient evidence as a matter of law to have sustained a guilty verdict if we went forward," Pomerantz said.

He also surmised that Bragg, who got a bumpy start in his very first week in office and is overseeing a prosecutor's office at a time when law enforcement is undergoing increased scrutiny, just couldn't take on a big fight with Trump.

"My view is that it is toxic to have people believe that the criminal justice system is unable to hold people accountable if those people have huge financial and political influence. The rule of law is supposed to extend to the rich and poor alike, to the vulnerable, to the powerful," he said. "And I was utterly convinced that if the defendant had not been Donald Trump or the putative defendant, if it had been Joe Blow from Kokomo, we would have indicted without a big debate."

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



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"I think it was a case that should have been brought," said Mark Pomerantz, a special prosecutor on the case who quit earlier this year.

Jose Pagliery


Political Investigations Reporter

Updated Jul. 21, 2022 1:39PM ET / Published Jul. 21, 2022 12:51PM ET 

New York Daily News


Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr. decided it was too risky to indict former President Donald Trump and was hung up on the idea he might lose the case, according to the special prosecutor who quit the team earlier this year.

"He and the new team were focused on the risk that we could lose the case," said Mark Pomerantz, who quit in protest in February and finally spoke openly about the case on The Cutting Edge, a podcast hosted by Columbia Law School professor John C. Coffee Jr. and U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff.

Pomerantz, a former New York prosecutor who came out of retirement to join the case at the request of previous Manhattan district attorney, Cy Vance. But he and the other top prosecutor on the team, Carey Dunne, both resigned when Bragg wouldn't finish what his predecessor started.

The DA's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

On the podcast, Pomerantz wondered aloud if the new DA just wasn't ready to be inundated with a flood of evidence and complex legal ideas stemming from the years-long investigation into the Trump Organization.

"It's very hard to take somebody who has not been exposed to those facts on a trip through the capillaries of the financial statements in a meeting or even a meeting or two," he said on the podcast. "The devil was really in the details, and the details couldn't be explained in kind of short form… ultimately, the DA—the incoming D.A.—and the team were not comfortable going forward. So did we do a bad job of laying out the facts? Did they not hear what we were saying? Were the facts too complicated to explain in the format that we were using?"

The evidence, Pomerantz admits, was complicated and far-reaching. Prosecutors had found that Trump had routinely lied to banks to obtain loans that "would not have been made, except for the fact that Donald Trump gave the banks personal financial statements and attested to their accuracy," Pomerantz said.

Vance's long fight to obtain Trump's tax returns, which twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court, revealed some details about that investigation. Manhattan prosecutors spent years combing through financial documents—including loans, property value assessments, personal statements of wealth, contracts, real estate deals, tax filings, and more—and developed an overarching picture that the Trump Organization was essentially committing fraud.

The very first indictment—against the company and its now-former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg—came under Vance's leadership and has been the only law enforcement action yet.

Since then, the team targeting Trump has begun to unravel, according to sources who spoke exclusively to The Daily Beast. The office maintains that it continues to investigate Trump, but the grand jury that was empanelled to hear evidence has expired. And a main witness, former Trump consigliere Michael Cohen, has stated emphatically that he is no longer willing to testify in the case due to Bragg's timidity.

Pomerantz said he and the rest of the team were confident that they had enough evidence to indict Trump. But he said it would still be challenging to nail the former president for the same reason he's dodged law enforcement time and time again: his behavior, while morally reprehensible, didn't neatly fit the definition of certain crimes.

"The view of the investigative team was that Trump had committed crimes, and I don't think there were dissents from that view. The problem was fitting his conduct within the pigeonholes of the New York penal law. It was very easy to do that under federal law, but, of course, we weren't sitting as federal prosecutors," Pomerantz told the Columbia law professor.

But he doubled down on the idea that it still would have worked.

"I think it was a case that should have been brought. And I'm asking you to accept for the moment that, first, I believe that Donald Trump, in fact, was guilty and, second, that there was sufficient evidence as a matter of law to have sustained a guilty verdict if we went forward," Pomerantz said.

He also surmised that Bragg, who got a bumpy start in his very first week in office and is overseeing a prosecutor's office at a time when law enforcement is undergoing increased scrutiny, just couldn't take on a big fight with Trump.

"My view is that it is toxic to have people believe that the criminal justice system is unable to hold people accountable if those people have huge financial and political influence. The rule of law is supposed to extend to the rich and poor alike, to the vulnerable, to the powerful," he said. "And I was utterly convinced that if the defendant had not been Donald Trump or the putative defendant, if it had been Joe Blow from Kokomo, we would have indicted without a big debate."

"You just—you don't give fabricated financial statements to banks to get loans without running the risk that you're going to get charged with a crime. And people are charged with that crime, I venture to say, every day of every week somewhere in the United States," he added. "You know, could we have lost the case? Of course we could have lost the case. But I believe very deeply that sometimes it's better to bring a case and risk losing it than not to bring the case at all."


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Revillug
Freshman Guide
1  seeder  Revillug    2 months ago

It's not just Merrick Garland who has cold feet.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2  Texan1211    2 months ago

Wow.

All that investigating for naught.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago

It's getting to look unlikely that Trump will ever be convicted of anything, because either there will be MAGA sheep on the juries who will lie about their impartiality or anyone involved with prosecuting are afraid of themselves and/or their family being harrassed or even assassinated.   So much for ".....And Justice For All". 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1  Texan1211  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3    2 months ago
because either there will be MAGA sheep on the juries who will lie about their impartiality

That seems a bit of a stretch considering he hasn't been put on trial.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Texan1211 @3.1    2 months ago

What do the Las Vegas bookies think?

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.2  Texan1211  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3.1.1    2 months ago

Don't know, don't care.

Doesn't really matter, as the bookies have no power to put Trump on trial.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Senior Quiet
3.2  Jack_TX  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3    2 months ago
It's getting to look unlikely that Trump will ever be convicted of anything, because either there will be MAGA sheep on the juries who will lie about their impartiality or anyone involved with prosecuting are afraid of themselves and/or their family being harrassed or even assassinated.   So much for ".....And Justice For All". 

Somebody actually has to charge him with something before he can be convicted, Buzz.  

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3.2.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Jack_TX @3.2    2 months ago

Seems that so far nobody's got the guts to do it. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.2.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3.2.1    2 months ago

I've given it a lot of thought and all I could think of was that many democrats feel their only chance to win again in 2024 was to run against Trump and try and make it all about Trump and Jan 6th. Then I read a piece yesterday by Jonathan Turley:

"Attorney General Merrick Garland  clearly is  looking for evidence of criminal conduct and could seek an indictment. If based on the committee’s evidence, however, it is a criminal case that would be ripe for reversal even if a conviction could be secured from a favorable District of Columbia jury."



I said to myself: There it is!


How would it look to convict a former President and have the decision reversed?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3.2.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.2.2    2 months ago

I'm sure you can rely on your SCOTUS to protect him. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.2.4  Vic Eldred  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3.2.3    2 months ago

The decision to reverse will go to a Court of Appeals. Where they have the most appealing Judges.

218f75ad93e78618993af155dc1c0630--blue-shirts-psychiatry.jpg


You did practice law in the US?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
3.2.5  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.2.4    2 months ago

I can't open the image you posted - you would have to save it to your computer picture library and then post it from there.  

I never had the authority to practise law anywhere but Ontario, but I did accompany a client to NYC in order to advise him on an agreement he was going to sign there, and a different client to Arlington, Texas who was purchasing a trailer park there to advise him on the documents he had to sign..  

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Senior Quiet
3.2.6  Jack_TX  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.2.2    2 months ago

I dunno, I think your first idea is more probable.

"Running against Trump" is the reason we're currently having televised political theater.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
3.3  seeder  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3    2 months ago

It also looks a bit like the Democrats think the only Republican Biden beat in 2024 is Trump.

This is a very risky strategy that reminds me how Team Hillary thought the only Republican she could beat was Trump. And how Democrats have recently been dabbling in boosting extreme right wing nutjobs in the primaries hoping they will be weak general election candidates. 

Have we learned nothing? Of course extreme right wing candidates could do well in 2022 and 2024.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.3.1  JohnRussell  replied to  Revillug @3.3    2 months ago

I think the current trend is for independents to reject the far right nut jobs. As long as the Democrats only do this strategy in purple states I dont have a problem with it. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4  JohnRussell    2 months ago
The evidence, Pomerantz admits, was complicated and far-reaching. Prosecutors had found that Trump had routinely lied to banks to obtain loans that "would not have been made, except for the fact that Donald Trump gave the banks personal financial statements and attested to their accuracy," Pomerantz said.

Back in 2015 , when some were trying to warn everyone about Trump, I remember reading an article about how Trump would change the reported value of his properties whether he was looking to lower his taxes (he would report a lower value) or get a loan (he would report a higher value). He has been doing this for many years. My understanding is this is illegal. 

These things take too long. They should have indicted him within the first year of the investigation when the old D.A. was still in office. 

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
PhD Principal
4.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  JohnRussell @4    2 months ago
My understanding is this is illegal. 

Not only illegal but total bullshit. Doesn't NY have tax assessors? Don't banks and financial institutions still do appraisals prior to any monies being dispersed? I have no say in what I pay in taxes NOR did I get to tell the bank how much my home was worth when I bought it. 

WTF is wrong with NY or anyplace else where those properties were located? I guess rule by fox in the henhouse....................

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
4.2  seeder  Revillug  replied to  JohnRussell @4    2 months ago
I remember reading an article about how Trump would change the reported value of his properties whether he was looking to lower his taxes (he would report a lower value) or get a loan (he would report a higher value). He has been doing this for many years. My understanding is this is illegal.  These things take too long. They should have indicted him within the first year of the investigation when the old D.A. was still in office. 

My understanding, as a NYC resident, is that this practice in New York is rampant. All of the shady things Trump was accused of doing with his property values, with self dealing on property renovations contracts with fraudulent invoices, are done by an entire class of NYC landlords. There is probably enormous pressure being brought by New York billionaires to bear on prosecutors to not make a habit of subjecting landlords to this sort of scrutiny.

At least that is one theory I have because I live in NYC.

Other than that, I am just in shock that nobody is able to hold Trump accountable on anything. Is our political system trying to preserve unaccountability for the executive branch? 

If the idea is that the President should only be accountable to the voters it looks like Team MAGA is working tirelessly to do away with even that. 

 
 

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