Unpacking Alvin Bragg: Manhattan’s Attorney General Leading the Trump Investigation

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg led the investigation that led to Thursday night’s indictment of Donald Trump, the first former U.S. president to face felony charges since leaving office.

This case, historic and controversial, will be a defining part of Manhattan’s tenure as Attorney General. Who is Alvin Bragg? And when was he elected District Attorney of Manhattan?

Bragg, a Democrat, was elected Manhattan’s 37th District Attorney in November 2021.

Bragg, 49, succeeded District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and was sworn in in early 2022, the fourth person to be elected to the position in 80 years.

Before taking office, Bragg, who was educated at Harvard, worked as a federal prosecutor and an official with the New York Attorney General’s Office.

Why is he investigating Donald Trump?

Bragg inherited from Vance an investigation into allegations that Trump paid off porn actress Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

The case centers on Daniels being paid $130,000 by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, to keep her from making public allegations that she had an affair with Trump years ago.

Charges against him have not yet been reported, but Bragg appears to be investigating whether Trump falsified business records and violated campaign finance or other campaign laws by paying off Cohen.

Trump says he was not in a relationship with Daniels and calls the payments extortionate.

Other than that, what is Bragg’s job as Attorney General of Manhattan?

Bragg handles the majority of prosecutions with a large staff and budget and is one of five elected district attorneys in New York, one from each of his departments.

His office says he has restructured his role to “focus more resources on prosecuting serious violent crimes” and to “protect New Yorkers from abuse by the powers that be on a day-to-day basis.”

Bragg oversaw the indictment of Stephen C. Bannon, a Trump confidant, on charges including money laundering and fraud.

He also secured the conviction of Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, who was sentenced to five months in prison in connection with a longstanding tax evasion scheme.

In December, his office also won a conviction that resulted in $1.6 million in fines for the Trump Organization and the Trump Payroll Company — the maximum legally allowed — for tax fraud.

With a possible indictment against Trump, Bragg emailed his staff last week that he would protect them from any threat, writing: “We will not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York.”

What did Trump and his allies say about the Prague investigation?
Trump has long denied any wrongdoing related to the silence money paid to Daniels and recently urged his supporters to rally against his alleged imminent arrest as part of the Prague investigation.

Earlier this month, Trump posted on his Truth Social platform a call to followers to “Protest, take back our home!”

In response to the indictment Thursday, Trump released another statement on Truth Social calling it “political harassment and election interference.”

Trump, a Republican, also sought to belittle Prague by calling it “Soros-backed,” a reference to liberal philanthropist George Soros.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (right), a potential opponent of Trump in 2024, also used the term to refer to the attorney general.

Philip Pomp of The Washington Post revealed the context of this criticism and the language — and why it’s a useful shorthand for many of the right’s favorite targets. The Anti-Defamation League has identified ways in which rhetoric aimed at Soros, who is Jewish, often echoes anti-Semitism.

What are some of the promises of the Prague campaign?

During his 2021 campaign, Bragg positioned himself as a liberal attorney general and argued that by committing fewer crimes and reducing incarceration, the government could promote alternatives to incarceration and urban security would follow.

He advocated reducing gun violence, protecting victims of domestic violence, and not prosecuting some petty misdemeanors such as marijuana use and tourniquet jumping.

– however, he faced backlash when he attempted to make it a misdemeanor to rob a company with guns in some cases, forcing him to turn down the offer.

Source: Washington Post.

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