A 'careful lawyer;' Manhattan DA Bragg poised to bring charges against Trump
Published in News & Features
Weeks into his new job as Manhattan district attorney last year, Alvin Bragg faced a firestorm: Two senior prosecutors heading the office’s four-year investigation of Donald Trump wanted an immediate indictment of the former president.
Bragg told them the case wasn’t ready. The men quit in frustration, and it quickly spread that Bragg was abandoning the Trump investigation. It was a disastrous start to Bragg’s tenure at One Hogan Place.
A year after that momentous decision, the 49-year-old Harlem native is poised to become the first prosecutor to file criminal charges against Trump, which will turn him into a hero for the former president’s foes and a target of hatred for millions of Trump supporters.
Trump has already decried the investigation as a political witch hunt, labeling Bragg, who is Black, a “racist” and urging his supporters to protest any attempt to arrest and prosecute him.
New York City is already bracing for what would be an unprecedented and tense indictment of a former president over alleged hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Police have erected security barricades outside the court, and Bragg’s office has said it won’t be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process.
So far protests have been muted, with a couple dozen demonstrators showing up outside Bragg’s office for a rally Monday evening.
Five years into an investigation launched by his predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr., Bragg appears close to deciding to charge Trump. He has brought a string of witnesses before a grand jury, many of whom were involved in or aware of a hush money payment made by former Trump fixer and personal lawyer Michael Cohen to Daniels in the final days of the 2016 election campaign.
In recent weeks Bragg’s office contacted Trump’s lawyers to offer the former president the opportunity to address the grand jury himself, a step that normally takes place at the end of the investigative process. Trump declined, but the invitation alerted him that Bragg was on the verge of making a decision.
Bragg has for decades been destined to do important things, at least according to the Harvard Crimson, which wrote a 1995 story on him titled “The Anointed One.” The son of Sadie and Alvin senior, Bragg grew up in a section of Harlem known as “Striver’s Row” and attended the Trinity School in Manhattan, an elite private school. At Harvard he was known for bringing people together across political divides.
Bragg’s newfound role as Trump’s nemesis is not something he sought. While New York Attorney General Letitia James actively campaigned for office by promising to hold Trump accountable for his alleged misdeeds, Bragg avoided discussing the Trump investigation when he campaigned to succeed Vance.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P. Visit bloomberg.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.