Manhattan DA, former DA exchange barbs over decision not to prosecute Trump

In a new book published Tuesday, the man who led the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged financial crimes says the case is strong and that District Attorney Alvin Bragg should have filed charges against the former president.

“He [Bragg] failed to recognize that a case should have been brought to uphold the rule of law and demonstrate to the public that no one can put themselves above the law,” writes Mark Pomerantz in The People Against Donald Trump.

Asked about Pomeranz’s book on Tuesday, Bragg told reporters: “We’re actively investigating, so I’m limited in what I can say. … But here’s what I can say. … I bring heavy cases when they are ready. … I have come to the same conclusion that several senior prosecutors in my office have reached independently, namely that the Mark Pomeranz case is simply not ready.”

Pomeranz, a former U.S. Attorney now in private practice, was hired as Special Assistant District Attorney Cy Vance, Bragg’s predecessor as Manhattan District Attorney, in December 2020 to work on the Trump case given his previous white-collar experience. and complex financial matters. . As NBC News previously reported, Pomeranz was directly involved in interviewing potential witnesses.

The investigation focused on whether Trump manipulated the reported value of his assets in order to obtain loans and tax breaks. Pomeranz wanted to charge Trump with falsifying business documents and other crimes related to cash payments to Stormy Daniels, as well as exaggerating his net worth, and says in his book that he got Vance’s approval.

Bragg succeeded Vance as District Attorney in January 2022. Two people familiar with the matter told NBC News that Bragg and several professional prosecutors soon expressed concerns about the case Pomeranz was building, including his interpretation of the law and the absence of key facts in memos about a possible charge. People familiar with the matter said four prosecutors left the team investigating Trump because of Pomeranz’s handling of it.

Sources said Pomeranz did not provide Bragg with the prosecution memorandum or order of evidence, a list of allegations that needed to be proven when Bragg took office. They said Pomeranz’s team ended up producing proof when Bragg asked for it.

People say prosecutors in the Manhattan office have also distanced themselves from Pomeranz and his team of outside lawyers. They said some refused to join the team due to concerns about Pomeranz’s leadership and the investigative process.

Sources said the Manhattan office’s appellate attorneys, who are tasked with evaluating indictments and cases for possible problems in court, were excluded from the process as Pomeranz’s team pushed for prosecution.

Two people familiar with the case said they fear publication of the book would give Trump’s lawyers leverage in any trial if the district attorney’s office ever decides to indict him.

The book also drew criticism from the Association of New York District Attorneys, who said in a statement that “the performance of the former prosecutor during the ongoing criminal investigation in which he was involved is deplorable and unprecedented.”

“By writing and releasing the book in the midst of an ongoing case, the author turns the norms and ethics of prosecutorial conduct on its head.”

On Tuesday, Bragg said he had not read the book, “but I remain concerned that it could jeopardize our ongoing investigation.”

Pomerantz left office in February 2022, stating in Bragg’s resignation letter: “I believe that your decision not to prosecute Donald Trump now and under existing protocols is flawed and completely against the public interest.”

Pomerantz told NBC News on Tuesday that he was surprised to learn that some prosecutors were unwilling to work with his team and that his team had provided enough memos and briefings to the DA’s office.

“We had extensive factual and legal meetings,” Pomeranz said. “I think the DA was briefed on the facts and the law. If he had any concerns about getting any additional tests, they would have been provided to him.”

While he notes in his book that he was aware of concerns about whether the accusations against Trump were framed correctly, he said he continues to believe they were, and that the reasoning was “discussed and documented in memos that were sent to new team. … We were pretty sure that by claiming false business records, and we had plenty of examples to choose from, we thought we had a wide range of falsified documents.”

Pomeranz said he does not want to get into a public dispute with the district attorney’s office and hopes the public can focus on Trump’s behavior, as described in his book.

The Manhattan District Attorney said in a statement that the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement signed by Pomeranz in December 2020 does not expire. The office also says they requested a copy of the book in advance from the book’s publisher, but did not receive it.

Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty to fraud charges, and in December, the Trump Organization was found guilty of 17 felony counts, including tax fraud, and fined $1.7 million. The case was filed and filed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office under Vance.

Trump has not been charged with anything and has denied all wrongdoing.

Carey Dunn, a former member of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office who was brought back to successfully argue in the U.S. Supreme Court that the office should receive Trump’s tax returns, also resigned in February 2022.

When asked in an interview last month if he would discuss the details of his investigation into Trump and his resignation from the DA’s office with Pomeranz, Dunn said: “That’s not something I want to just talk about today, and I don’t I see the need. A fairly reliable record of what we were doing and what we were investigating has already been published.”

Dunn and Pomeranz teamed up with Michelle Roberts, former executive director of the NBA Players Association, to form a pro bono law firm called the Free and Fair Litigation Group to work to protect voting rights and other democratic institutions.

In an interview with CNN before he took office in January 2022, Bragg praised Dunn and Pomeranz as “two very good lawyers” and said he hoped they would continue with the case.

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