Grand Jury Votes to Indict Donald Trump in New York!

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  • FORD
    ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

    • Jan 2004
    • 58899

    Grand Jury Votes to Indict Donald Trump in New York!

    failing nytimes.com
    Grand Jury Votes to Indict Donald Trump in New York:
    Ben Protess, Jonah E. Bromwich, William K. Rashbaum


    The unprecedented case against Trump will have wide-ranging implications.

    A Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Donald J. Trump on Thursday for his role in paying hush money to a porn star, according to four people with knowledge of the matter, a historic development that will shake up the 2024 presidential race and forever mark him as the nation’s first former president to face criminal charges.

    The felony indictment, filed under seal by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, will likely be announced in the coming days. By then, prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, will have asked Mr. Trump to surrender and to face arraignment on charges that remain unknown for now.

    Mr. Trump has for decades avoided criminal charges despite persistent scrutiny and repeated investigations, creating an aura of legal invincibility that the vote to indict now threatens to puncture.

    His actions surrounding his 2020 electoral defeat are now the focus of a separate federal investigation, and a Georgia prosecutor is in the final stages of an investigation into Mr. Trump’s attempts to reverse the election results in that state.

    But unlike the investigations that arose from his time in the White House, this case is built around a tawdry episode that predates Mr. Trump’s presidency. The reality star turned presidential candidate who shocked the political establishment by winning the White House now faces a reckoning for a hush money payment that buried a sex scandal in the final days of the 2016 campaign.

    Mr. Trump has consistently denied all wrongdoing and attacked Mr. Bragg, a Democrat, accusing him of leading a politically motivated prosecution. He has also denied any affair with the porn star, Stormy Daniels, who had been looking to sell her story of a tryst with Mr. Trump during the campaign.

    Here’s what else you need to know:

    Mr. Bragg and his lawyers will likely attempt to negotiate Mr. Trump’s surrender. If he agrees, it will raise the prospect of a former president, with the Secret Service in tow, being photographed and fingerprinted in the bowels of a New York State courthouse.

    The prosecution’s star witness is Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who paid the $130,000 to keep Ms. Daniels quiet. Mr. Cohen has said that Mr. Trump directed him to buy Ms. Daniels’s silence, and that Mr. Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization, helped cover the whole thing up. The company’s internal records falsely identified the reimbursements as legal expenses, which helped conceal the purpose of the payments.

    Although the specific charges remain unknown, Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors have zeroed in on that hush money payment and the false records created by Mr. Trump’s company. A conviction is not a sure thing: An attempt to combine a charge relating to the false records with an election violation relating to the payment to Ms. Daniels would be based on a legal theory that has yet to be evaluated by judges, raising the possibility that a court could throw out or limit the charges.

    The vote to indict, the product of a nearly five-year investigation, kicks off a new and volatile phase in Mr. Trump’s post-presidential life as he makes a third run for the White House. And it could throw the race for the Republican nomination — which he leads in most polls — into uncharted territory.

    Mr. Bragg is the first prosecutor to lead an indictment of Mr. Trump. He is now likely to become a national figure enduring a harsh political spotlight.
    Eat Us And Smile

    Cenk For America 2024!!

    Justice Democrats


    "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992
  • FORD
    ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

    • Jan 2004
    • 58899

    #2
    This is what will happen when Trump is arrested.

    He will be fingerprinted. He will be photographed. He may even be handcuffed.

    And the former president of the United States of America will be read the standard Miranda warning: He will be told that he has the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

    These are among the routine steps of felony arrest processing in New York — and this is what in all likelihood will happen next for Donald J. Trump now that a grand jury has voted to indict him in connection with his role in a hush-money payment to a porn star. But the unprecedented arrest of a former commander in chief will be anything but routine.

    Accommodations may be made for Mr. Trump. While it is standard for defendants arrested on felony charges to be handcuffed, it is unclear whether an exception will be made for the former president because of his status. Most defendants have their hands cuffed behind their backs, but some white-collar defendants who are deemed to pose less of a danger have their hands secured in front of them.

    Mr. Trump will almost certainly be accompanied at every step of the process — from the moment he is taken into custody until his appearance before a judge in Lower Manhattan’s imposing Criminal Courts Building — by armed agents of the United States Secret Service, who are required by law to protect him at all times.

    Security in the courthouse is provided by state court officers, with whom the Secret Service has worked in the past. But the chief spokesman for the agency, Anthony J. Guglielmi, said he could not comment on any specific measures that would be put in place for Mr. Trump.

    It may take several days for Mr. Trump to appear at the courthouse. Now that the grand jury has voted to indict him, the indictment must be handed up. Then prosecutors would typically contact his defense lawyers to negotiate the terms of his surrender, a common practice in white-collar investigations when the district attorney’s office has been in touch with defense attorneys.

    Lawyers for Mr. Trump, who is running for president a third time, have said he will surrender to face the charges and fly from his Florida estate to New York for the arraignment.

    After he is arraigned, he is almost certain to be released on his own recognizance because the indictment will likely contain only nonviolent felony charges; under New York law, prosecutors cannot request bail in such cases.

    The former president plans to use the charges as part of a campaign strategy to rile up his base.

    Surrender, some might argue, is not in the confrontational former president’s DNA, and he often seems to relish antagonizing and attacking the prosecutors who have investigated him. He has called Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who secured the hush money indictment and who is Black, “a racist,” and said that his investigation was politically motivated.

    In the unlikely event that the former president refuses to surrender, he would put Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, his leading but undeclared rival for the Republican nomination, in an awkward political position. Under law, Mr. DeSantis’s role would be essentially ministerial and he would have few legal options other than approving an extradition request from New York.

    Still, if New York prosecutors sought Mr. Trump’s extradition, Mr. DeSantis would face an unenviable dilemma. He would be compelled to choose between authorizing an arrest warrant for Mr. Trump and inflaming his base, or attempting in some way to aid his Republican rival, and possibly face legal action as a result.
    Eat Us And Smile

    Cenk For America 2024!!

    Justice Democrats


    "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992

    Comment

    • FORD
      ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

      • Jan 2004
      • 58899

      #3
      Here are the key events that led to the grand jury vote.

      The investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office into Donald J. Trump’s hush-money payments to a pornographic film star, which led to the vote to indict the former president, has spanned nearly five years.

      Here are some key moments:

      Aug. 21, 2018
      Michael D. Cohen says he arranged hush-money payments for the president, and the investigation begins.

      Mr. Cohen, previously a personal lawyer and fixer for Mr. Trump, pleaded guilty to federal crimes and told a court that Mr. Trump had directed him to arrange hush-money payments to two women. The payments were made during the 2016 campaign to keep the women from speaking publicly about affairs they said they had conducted with Mr. Trump.

      Soon after Mr. Cohen’s admission, the Manhattan district attorney’s office opened an investigation to examine if the payments broke New York State laws. The office soon paused the inquiry at the request of federal prosecutors, who were still looking into the same conduct.

      August 2019
      The district attorney’s office subpoenas the Trump Organization.

      After federal prosecutors said that they had “effectively concluded” their investigation, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney at the time, revived his own inquiry. Late in the month, prosecutors in his office issued a subpoena to the Trump Organization and another subpoena to Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, demanding eight years of Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns.

      Sept. 19, 2019
      Mr. Trump’s lawyers sue to protect his tax returns.

      The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, argued that a sitting president cannot be criminally investigated. It led to a lengthy delay.

      July 9, 2020
      Mr. Vance wins his first key victory at the U.S. Supreme Court.

      After appellate judges ruled against Mr. Trump, the lawsuit found its way to the Supreme Court, where the justices ruled that the presidency did not shield Mr. Trump from criminal inquiries and that he had no absolute right to block the release of his tax returns.

      The ruling left Mr. Trump with the opportunity to raise different objections to Mr. Vance’s subpoena.

      AUTUMN 2020
      The investigation intensifies.

      Prosecutors interviewed employees of the main bank and insurance company that serve Mr. Trump and issued several new subpoenas.

      The district attorney’s office also signaled in another court filing that it had grounds to investigate the president for tax fraud.

      Image
      Donald Trump climbing the steps to Air Force One.
      The investigation that led to the indictment of Donald J. Trump has spanned nearly five years.Credit...Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

      Feb. 22, 2021
      The Supreme Court denies Mr. Trump’s final bid to block the release of his returns.

      The brief unsigned order was a decisive defeat for Mr. Trump and a turning point in Mr. Vance’s investigation.

      Just hours later, eight years of financial records were handed over to Mr. Vance’s office.

      March 1, 2021
      The investigation’s focus turns to a top executive.

      In the spring, Mr. Vance’s prosecutors set their sights on Allen H. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s long-serving chief financial officer, whom they hoped to pressure into cooperating with their investigation.

      The prosecutors were particularly interested in whether the Trump Organization handed out valuable benefits to Mr. Weisselberg as a form of untaxed compensation.

      July 1, 2021
      The Trump Organization is charged with running a 15-year tax scheme.

      When Mr. Weisselberg refused to testify against his boss, prosecutors announced charges against him and Mr. Trump’s company, saying that the company helped its executives evade taxes by compensating them with benefits such as free cars and apartments that were hidden from the authorities.

      JAN. 1, 2022
      A new Manhattan district attorney takes office.

      Mr. Vance left office, and his successor, Alvin L. Bragg, took over the case. Both are Democrats.

      Mr. Bragg, a former federal prosecutor, retained two of the investigation’s leaders, Mark F. Pomerantz, an experienced former federal prosecutor and white-collar defense lawyer, and Carey Dunne, Mr. Vance’s general counsel.

      Feb. 23, 2022
      Two prosecutors resign, leaving the investigation’s future in doubt.

      After Mr. Bragg expressed reservations about the case, Mr. Pomerantz and Mr. Dunne suspended the presentation of evidence about Mr. Trump to a grand jury. A month later, they resigned, prompting a public uproar over Mr. Bragg’s decision not to proceed with an indictment.

      In his resignation letter, which was later obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Pomerantz said that Mr. Trump had been guilty of numerous felonies.

      Aug. 18, 2022
      Mr. Bragg’s investigation continues.

      After staying mostly silent through weeks of criticism, the district attorney publicly discussed his office’s investigation of Mr. Trump for the first time. His fundamental message: The inquiry would continue.

      Aug. 18, 2022
      Allen Weisselberg pleads guilty and agrees to testify against the Trump Organization.

      Though the chief financial officer declined to turn on Mr. Trump himself, he agreed to testify at the October trial against the company that he had served for nearly half a century.

      Late Summer, 2022
      The prosecutors turn back to hush money.

      After several months, Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors returned to the long-running investigation’s original focus: a hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress who said she had a sexual relationship with Mr. Trump.

      Dec. 24, 2022
      The Trump Organization is convicted, securing a significant victory for the district attorney.

      Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors won a conviction of Mr. Trump’s family business, convincing a jury that the company was guilty of tax fraud and other crimes.

      January 2023
      The district attorney impanels a new grand jury.

      The grand jury met throughout the next three months and heard testimony about the hush- money payment from at least nine witnesses.

      Midwinter 2023
      Prosecutors signal that an indictment is likely, offering Mr. Trump a chance to testify before the grand jury.

      Such offers almost always indicate an indictment is close; it would be unusual to notify a potential defendant without ultimately seeking charges against him.

      March 18, 2023
      Mr. Trump predicts his arrest and calls for protests.

      Without any direct knowledge, the former president posted on his Truth Social account that he would be arrested three days later and sought to rally supporters to his side. His prediction was soon walked back, and he was not arrested at that time.

      March 30, 2023
      Grand jury votes to indict Mr. Trump.

      The charges, which are still unknown, will be the first against any president, current or former.
      Eat Us And Smile

      Cenk For America 2024!!

      Justice Democrats


      "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992

      Comment

      • FORD
        ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

        • Jan 2004
        • 58899

        #4
        The legal intricacies that could make or break the case against Trump

        It is the kind of case that emboldens prosecutors and mesmerizes juries: a celebrity defendant authorizing a secret payoff to cover up a tryst with a porn star.

        With the Manhattan district attorney’s office now charging Donald J. Trump in just such a case, the former president is facing a daunting set of facts. His onetime fixer, Michael D. Cohen, will testify that Mr. Trump directed him to pay off the porn star, Stormy Daniels, and that the former president reimbursed Mr. Cohen and helped cover the whole thing up.

        But salacious details alone do not make a case. Prosecutors must also work within the law. And the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, may have to pull off a difficult maneuver, connecting the hush-money cover-up — a potential violation of state law — to a federal election.

        The indictment is sealed for now, meaning that its contents are not yet known, and Mr. Bragg could have charged any number of crimes. But there is a possibility that the case relies on a legal theory that has never been evaluated by a judge.

        A New York Times review and interviews with election law experts strongly suggest that New York state prosecutors have never before filed an election law case involving a federal campaign. Bringing an untested case against anyone, let alone a former president of the United States, carries the risk that a court could throw out or narrow the case.

        The case could hinge on the way Mr. Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, handled reimbursing Mr. Cohen for the payment of $130,000 to Ms. Daniels. Internal Trump Organization records falsely classified the reimbursements as legal expenses, which helped conceal the purpose of the payments, according to Mr. Cohen, who said Mr. Trump knew about the misleading records. (Mr. Trump’s lawyers deny that.)

        In New York, falsifying business records can be a crime, and Mr. Bragg’s office may have built its case around that charge, according to outside legal experts and people with knowledge of the matter. The false business records charge is the bread and butter of the district attorney’s office white-collar practice: Since Mr. Bragg took office in 2022, prosecutors have filed 117 felony counts of the charge, against 29 individuals and companies, according to data kept by the office.

        But for falsifying business records to be a felony, not a misdemeanor, Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors must show that Mr. Trump’s “intent to defraud” included an intent to commit or conceal a second crime. That crime could be a violation of election law, under the theory that the payout served as a donation to Mr. Trump’s campaign, because it silenced Ms. Daniels and shut down a potential sex scandal in the final stretch of the campaign.

        Although the district attorney’s office need not obtain a conviction on the election law violation, or even specify it in the indictment, that second crime ultimately might be the aspect of the legal theory that is most vulnerable to attack.

        Mr. Trump’s lawyers have said that the theory that the money amounted to a campaign donation is flawed. One of the lawyers recently argued in television interviews that Mr. Trump approved the payment to protect his family from false accusations, noting that Mr. Trump has long denied a sexual encounter with Ms. Daniels.

        The lawyer, Joe Tacopina, portrayed the former president as a victim of her extortion.

        “We are distorting laws to try and bag President Trump,” Mr. Tacopina said on “Good Morning America.” He added, “He had to pay money because there was going to be an allegation that was going to be publicly embarrassing to him, regardless of the campaign. There is no crime here.”

        Whether hush money can amount to a campaign donation is not settled law. At the federal level, this issue arose with the prosecution of John Edwards, the former senator and presidential candidate, in a 2012 case that ended with jurors deadlocked over the majority of the charges. Prosecutors ultimately dropped them.

        Another case came in 2018, when Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges involving the hush money. Because he pleaded guilty, the issue was never tested in the courts. But some campaign finance experts and conservative legal scholars have argued that the case was bogus.

        “Michael Cohen Pled Guilty to Something That Is Not a Crime,” was the headline in a National Review article at the time.

        Yet the text of New York election law suggests otherwise. It defines a campaign contribution, in part, as “any thing of value, made in connection” with an election.

        If Mr. Bragg does pursue an election violation as the second crime, there are several unanswered questions.

        Image
        Alvin Bragg, wearing a dark suit and tie, standing among a group of people in business attire.
        Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, is likely to rely on the former Trump fixer, Michael Cohen, to help build his case.Credit...Karsten Moran for The New York Times

        For starters, it is unclear whether he would cite a federal or state election law violation, or even both. And with either choice, there could be pitfalls.

        If his office uses a federal election violation as the second crime, Mr. Trump’s lawyers could argue that federal law has no place in state court. And if he uses a New York election law violation, the defense could claim that a violation of state law does not apply to a federal election — in this case, the 2016 presidential campaign.

        “Generally, someone can’t be prosecuted for violating a contribution limit in a federal election in a state court,” said Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who specializes in election law.

        Mr. Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., grappled with the same issue. Mr. Vance’s prosecutors considered the hush-money case several times — it floated around the office so long that it became known as the “zombie case,” an idea that just wouldn’t die — and examined several secondary crimes Mr. Trump might have been seeking to conceal.

        They never ruled out a hush money case, but had concerns that it might be too risky to use a federal election law violation as the second crime. Mr. Vance’s prosecutors feared a judge might find that falsifying business records could be a felony only if it aided or concealed a New York state crime, not a federal one.

        Their apprehension stemmed partly from a lack of precedent — the only cases like this had ended in guilty pleas, meaning they were not tested in the courts — as well as from New York law, which suggests that federal crimes are out of bounds for New York prosecutors.

        Against that backdrop, Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors appear to have taken a more favorable view of using a state election law violation, according to people with knowledge of their thinking. The laws governing elections in New York are unusual in that they explicitly apply to federal elections, not just state elections. And New York state prosecutors have secured at least one conviction in a case in which they combined falsifying business records charges with state election law crimes, though that case involved a state election, not a federal one.

        Several state election law provisions appear to fit Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump’s conduct, according to legal experts. One such provision, state election law 14-126, makes it unlawful for someone (Mr. Trump, under this theory) to knowingly and willingly solicit another person (Mr. Cohen) to spend money in order to evade campaign contribution limits ($130,000 in hush money, well above the limits).

        Michael Cohen standing amid a crowd of lawyers and news media outside a courthouse.
        Mr. Cohen has met with prosecutors repeatedly during the nearly five-year investigation.Credit...Yuki Iwamura/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

        Another, state election law 17-152, proposed as an option by analysts at Just Security and the legal commentator Lisa Rubin, is even simpler: It makes it illegal to conspire to promote the election of any candidate “by unlawful means.”

        Any state election law that the district attorney might pair with the falsifying business records charge may have to make it through a gantlet: Federal campaign finance law explicitly states that it overrides — pre-empts, in legal terminology — state election law when it comes to campaign donation limits.

        That could rule out the possibility that Mr. Bragg might use 14-126, the New York law that makes it illegal to solicit campaign spending that violates contribution limits.

        But there are exceptions to federal pre-emption contained in regulations from the Federal Election Commission, known as the F.E.C. And it is possible that the other law, 17-152, which makes it illegal to conspire to promote the election of any candidate “by unlawful means,” may be able to avoid triggering federal pre-emption. That law does not deal explicitly with contribution limits.

        In short, it may be the strongest option for Mr. Bragg.

        “It appears that this provision, which prohibits unlawfully promoting an election, could fit into one of the F.E.C. exceptions,” said Jerry H. Goldfeder, a special counsel at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and a recognized expert in New York state election law.

        No matter what crimes Mr. Bragg charges, Mr. Trump’s lawyers are expected to raise a number of other legal challenges, including arguing that Mr. Bragg missed the legal deadline to file the case. Normally, the felony falsifying business records charge expires after five years.

        But Mr. Bragg’s office has ways to extend that statute of limitations to cover the events stemming from the 2016 payment. New York law extends its statute of limitations to cover periods when a defendant was continuously out of state — Mr. Trump has spent much of his time since 2016 in Washingtonand Florida — and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York extended the state’s statute of limitations by more than a year during the pandemic.

        And there are a few additional advantages for the district attorney: His case will play out in state court, with a state judge — possibly Juan M. Merchan, the even-keeled jurist who oversaw the conviction of Mr. Trump’s family business — and a jury in deep blue Manhattan.

        Those factors helped to convince Mr. Goldfeder, the state election law expert, that the case could be viable.

        “You know, it’s not a slam-dunk,” he said. “But I think that survives a motion to dismiss, and then let the jury decide.”
        Eat Us And Smile

        Cenk For America 2024!!

        Justice Democrats


        "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992

        Comment

        • FORD
          ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

          • Jan 2004
          • 58899

          #5
          Prosecutor in Trump Case Wades Into Treacherous Political Waters

          Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, has insisted that he does not pay attention to politics when deciding whether to charge someone with a crime.

          But Mr. Bragg’s stated reluctance to consider the political ramifications of his office’s decisions has not quelled the storm brewing around him: He now appears poised to become the first prosecutor to indict a former president.

          Charging former President Donald J. Trump in connection with a hush-money payment to a porn star would catapult Mr. Bragg onto the national stage. Already he faces second-guessing, even from putative allies, about the strength of the case and the wisdom of bringing it. And Mr. Trump, who has denied all wrongdoing, has begun attacking Mr. Bragg, a Democrat, as the latest in a string of politically-motivated prosecutors determined to bring him down. The ex-president has marshaled the support of his Republican allies in Congress and beyond.

          It is unlikely that Mr. Bragg entered the race for district attorney expecting to indict Mr. Trump. When he announced his campaign in June 2019, there was little sign that the office’s then-dormant investigation would lead to criminal charges. And Mr. Bragg, 49, who has lived in New York nearly his entire life, had a vision for the office that had nothing to do with the president.

          But the Trump question came to dominate the Democratic primary as the race entered its final stretch in 2021. As the district attorney’s investigation against the former president began to heat up, Mr. Bragg and his opponents started to signal to prospective voters that they had the bona fides to lead a potential prosecution of Mr. Trump.

          Mr. Bragg had some history to draw on. In 2017 and 2018 he served as a senior official in the New York attorney general’s office, which at the time brought a bevy of lawsuits against Mr. Trump’s administration. One of them, filed in June 2018, accused the Donald J. Trump Foundation and the Trump family of “a shocking pattern of illegality.” That lawsuit was successful, leading to the foundation’s dissolution.

          Still, as a candidate, Mr. Bragg was mostly focused elsewhere. His fundamental campaign promise was to balance public safety and fairness, following in the footsteps of a wave of recently elected prosecutors who pledged a new approach to crime. They argued that cracking down on minor infractions only led to recidivism, and that taking a more merciful approach to defendants made cities safer.

          “When you look at who he defined himself to be, it wasn’t about Trump. It was an approach to the justice system that was fair, balanced and equitable,” said Kim Foxx, the state’s attorney of Cook County, which includes Chicago, who campaigned on a platform similar to that of Mr. Bragg.

          When Mr. Bragg took office, and his prosecutors were presenting evidence about Mr. Trump and his businesses to a grand jury, the new district attorney stopped them, concerned that the case, which centered on whether Mr. Trump fraudulently inflated the value of his properties, was not strong enough to move forward. The public backlash was swift.

          In much the way that Mr. Trump shifted the conversation in Mr. Bragg’s campaign, the former president has shifted the focus of the district attorney’s administration. And Mr. Bragg will likely find that his tenure is now intertwined with the former president.
          ‘The Facts and the Law’

          Image
          Mr. Trump speaking at a podium in front of American flags.
          Manhattan prosecutors were not close to indicting Donald J. Trump when Mr. Bragg decided to run for office.Credit...Desiree Rios/The New York Times

          In an appearance on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s MSNBC show earlier this month, Mr. Bragg, who declined to grant an interview for this article, was asked what figured into his decision to bring a case against any defendant.

          “We’re looking at the facts and the law,” Mr. Bragg said, adding, “Yes we live in this world where we may hear what this pundit says and we may hear all the commentary but our focus is on the evidence and the law.”

          That emphasis on the law is in part informed by Mr. Bragg’s time as a federal prosecutor in New York, where he focused on public corruption and white collar crime, and then at the New York attorney general’s office, where he led a unit focused on police accountability. He has long been uncomfortable with the more political aspects of his job.

          “The second we start thinking we’re politicians, we’ve taken a real wrong turn,” Mr. Bragg said of prosecutors, in an interview with The New York Times early in his tenure.

          Mr. Bragg has been in a difficult situation. Rebecca Roiphe, a professor at New York Law School and a former prosecutor in Manhattan, said that even though investigators do not target individuals for political reasons, politics does come into play in that “there is always a question of whether it is the public interest to bring a certain charge or not.”

          If he does not bring a case even though there is clear evidence to prove it, Ms. Roiphe suggested, he could violate the longstanding principle that no person is above the law. But if he does indict Mr. Trump, who has begun a third presidential campaign, the choice could also be “incredibly destabilizing and harmful,” Ms. Roiphe said.

          “I’m not envious of anyone who has to make a call,” she added.

          Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors have homed in on the hush-money payment to the porn star, Stormy Daniels, which was made in the run-up to the 2016 election by Mr. Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen was then reimbursed in installments by the then-president. The case is expected to center on Mr. Trump’s role in recording the reimbursements in the internal records of his company, the Trump Organization. The records falsely stated that the payments to Mr. Cohen were for “legal expenses.”

          Mr. Trump has called Mr. Bragg a “racist” and accused him of leading a politically motivated prosecution. Mr. Trump’s political allies have joined his battle against the district attorney; on Sunday, the Republican speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy accused Mr. Bragg of “abusing his office to target President Trump.”

          Mr. Bragg’s Republican general election opponent Thomas Kenniff, who works as a defense lawyer in Manhattan, expressed a similar concern in an interview on Monday. Mr. Kenniff said that while he did not want to guess at Mr. Bragg’s motivations, a case focused on the hush money “should be unsettling to anyone, regardless of how much they despise a former president.”

          “Prosecutorial discretion is and always has been part of the job and the cost of something like this, the divisiveness of something like this and the extent that it may undermine the office of the presidency, I think, makes it a very ill-advised choice,” Mr. Kenniff said.

          Trump’s Long Shadow


          Mr. Bragg’s case appears to rely on Michael D. Cohen, a former fixer for Mr. Trump who in 2018 pleaded guilty to federal crimes for his role in the hush money plot.Credit...Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

          Like many of the prosecutors who have orbited the former president, Mr. Bragg’s most high-profile moments have involved Mr. Trump. In December, he won a conviction of Mr. Trump’s family business on a yearslong tax fraud scheme, stemming from the company’s practice of giving out off-the-books perks to executives. It was the most significant victory of his young tenure.

          In January, he impaneled a grand jury to hear evidence about Mr. Trump’s involvement in the hush-money payment to Ms. Daniels, who in the weeks before the 2016 election was attempting to sell her story of a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump has denied the encounter.

          The Manhattan district attorney’s office has been scrutinizing the conduct around the hush-money payment on and off for nearly five years, and began to do so under Mr. Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

          Mr. Trump, then president, fought the investigation at every turn, even as Mr. Vance broadened his focus to the business practices at the Trump Organization. When, in February 2021, Mr. Vance’s office finally obtained Mr. Trump’s tax returns after a lengthy court battle, the Manhattan inquiry into the former president gathered steam. That transformed the race in which Mr. Bragg had become a leading candidate.

          Still, Mr. Bragg had other aims. Upon winning office, he said that his top two priorities were addressing the gun violence that had begun to spike in New York City during the pandemic, and sending fewer people from Manhattan to the troubled jail complex on Rikers Island.

          Mr. Bragg was only briefed on the Trump investigation shortly before taking office. And his first action after being sworn in was to issue a memo in which he told his prosecutors to seek jail and prison time for only the most serious crimes.

          While a draft of the memo had been released during his campaign to little fanfare, a sudden backlash to the new policies was the new district attorney’s first indication that running one of the most politically prominent prosecutor’s offices in the country would be different from campaigning for it.

          And, inevitably, Mr. Trump became a central issue. Before leaving office, Mr. Vance had authorized the prosecutors leading the inquiry into Mr. Trump’s business practices to begin presenting evidence to a grand jury. But the decision to seek an indictment ultimately fell to Mr. Bragg. When he decided not to move forward, the two prosecutors leading the case, Mark F. Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, abruptly resigned.

          What followed was a media tempest, as Mr. Bragg was attacked for not having brought a case. But the district attorney’s allies saw it as a validation of his judgment.

          “It confirms that Alvin is very deliberate and methodical and not swayed by politics,” Mr. Sharpton said in a Monday interview. “If he indicts now, he has more credibility than probably anyone because he wasn’t playing to the crowd.”

          Ms. Foxx said that the fact that Mr. Bragg wanted to do the work himself, she said, rather than inheriting a case he had not built, “absolutely played into his decision making.”

          “You are at a disadvantage when running and talking about a case and the reality of it hits real hard when you have to go through the file,” said Ms. Foxx, the Cook County state’s attorney.

          Mr. Bragg shut down the grand jury presentation but continued with the inquiry, assuring the public that his team was “investigating thoroughly and following the facts.”

          As the months went by and some of the attention receded, the team began to make apparent progress: By late summer, Mr. Bragg and some of his deputies had begun to indicate to associates that they were newly optimistic about building a case against Mr. Trump.
          Eat Us And Smile

          Cenk For America 2024!!

          Justice Democrats


          "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992

          Comment

          • Rikk
            DIAMOND STATUS
            • Jan 2004
            • 16518

            #6
            I said to my wife & kid this evening that it's a sad day...but not for justice. It's a GREAT day for justice. This piece of shit deserved this years ago...years before he ran for office. He's a dangerous criminal who has riled up so many people to become the worst they could be.

            But it is a sad commentary on our country that such a disgusting man ever got to where he did.

            Yes, he's the first former or current Commander-in-Chief to receive a criminal indictment. But unlike the cultists are claiming, this isn't about politics. If it were, it would do Dems even better to indict DeSantis or even MTG for something. Trump already has no chance of getting the White House in next year's election.

            People will say that he's being made a martyr, but Jon Stewart correctly pointed out this week that no D.A.'s office should consider political ramifications and just focus on following the law. AND the fact is, while there will be some right-wingers claiming it's a political hit-job, the crucial Independents are going to simply think: "Wow, the Republicans are just putting up CRIMINALS and RACISTS for their candidates. And I want no part of that."

            I don't think he's going to end up in prison for this, but I could be wrong. I think the other cases building against him may have a better chance of putting the bastard in jail.

            But maybe he really will go to prison with this. The Secret Service will literally have to go in to the penitentiary with him. I wish they wouldn't...he could do with a good ass-raping.
            Roth Army Militia

            Originally posted by WARF
            Rikk - The new school of the Roth Army... this dude leads the pack... three words... The Sheep Pen... this dude opened alot of doors for people during this new era... he's the best of the new school.

            Comment

            • Nitro Express
              DIAMOND STATUS
              • Aug 2004
              • 32798

              #7
              You can indict a ham sandwich. I’m amazed people think what happens to Donald Trump has any relevance to anything. It’s not going to change the situation you are living in one bit. I guess people need something to obsess over.
              No! You can't have the keys to the wine cellar!

              Comment

              • Rikk
                DIAMOND STATUS
                • Jan 2004
                • 16518

                #8
                Originally posted by Nitro Express
                You can indict a ham sandwich. I’m amazed people think what happens to Donald Trump has any relevance to anything. It’s not going to change the situation you are living in one bit. I guess people need something to obsess over.
                Indictments are not about changing day-to-day life for any of us. It's about holding someone accountable when it comes to rule of law.

                I was glad when John Wayne Gacy was executed. It was the right thing to do because he was such a horrible monster. And it didn't change my life one iota.

                I was glad when the Parkland shooter was put away for life. But the odds are miniscule that if he hadn't been, it would have directly impacted my life.

                Trump has committed multiple real crimes. He may not be a serial killer or a school shooter. But he has engaged in criminal behavior for the best part of five decades.

                What he did was illegal. And that's the only thing that matters.
                Roth Army Militia

                Originally posted by WARF
                Rikk - The new school of the Roth Army... this dude leads the pack... three words... The Sheep Pen... this dude opened alot of doors for people during this new era... he's the best of the new school.

                Comment

                • FORD
                  ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

                  • Jan 2004
                  • 58899

                  #9


                  Arrest the president, you got the evidence
                  That nigga is Russian intelligence
                  When it rains it pours
                  Did you know the new white was orange?
                  Boy, you're showing your horns
                  Eat Us And Smile

                  Cenk For America 2024!!

                  Justice Democrats


                  "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992

                  Comment

                  • FORD
                    ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

                    • Jan 2004
                    • 58899

                    #10
                    The indicted criminal responds......



                    Yeah.... stay classy, Cheeto.
                    Eat Us And Smile

                    Cenk For America 2024!!

                    Justice Democrats


                    "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992

                    Comment

                    • FORD
                      ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

                      • Jan 2004
                      • 58899

                      #11
                      Eat Us And Smile

                      Cenk For America 2024!!

                      Justice Democrats


                      "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992

                      Comment

                      • FORD
                        ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

                        • Jan 2004
                        • 58899

                        #12
                        Eat Us And Smile

                        Cenk For America 2024!!

                        Justice Democrats


                        "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992

                        Comment

                        • FORD
                          ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

                          • Jan 2004
                          • 58899

                          #13
                          Eat Us And Smile

                          Cenk For America 2024!!

                          Justice Democrats


                          "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992

                          Comment

                          • FORD
                            ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

                            • Jan 2004
                            • 58899

                            #14
                            Eat Us And Smile

                            Cenk For America 2024!!

                            Justice Democrats


                            "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992

                            Comment

                            • FORD
                              ROTH ARMY MODERATOR

                              • Jan 2004
                              • 58899

                              #15
                              Baphomet Evil, Trump Cultists and..... Van Hagar??

                              Eat Us And Smile

                              Cenk For America 2024!!

                              Justice Democrats


                              "If the American people had ever known the truth about what we (the BCE) have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched." - Poppy Bush, 1992

                              Comment

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