Arizona prosecutor refuses to extradite murder suspect to New York

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An Arizona prosecutor said she will not extradite a New York murder suspect to the state on Wednesday, claiming Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) could not be trusted to keep the man behind bars.

Maricopa County prosecutor Rachel Mitchell said in a press conference Wednesday that the suspect will instead remain in Arizona.

“Having observed the treatment of violent criminals in the New York area by the Manhattan DA there, Alvin Bragg,” Mitchell said, “I think it’s safer to keep him here and keep him in custody, so that he cannot be out doing this to individuals either in our state, county, or anywhere in the United States.”

The suspect, 26-year-old Saad Almansoori, stands accused of the murder of a 38-year-old woman in New York City earlier this month. He was arrested in Arizona days later, after stabbing a second person.

Mitchell specifically cited Arizona’s mandatory minimum prison sentences as a reason to deny extradition, implying that Bragg would not pursue a harsh enough sentence.

A spokesperson for Bragg’s office denounced Mitchell’s decision not to allow extradition and her attacks on Bragg himself.

“It is deeply disturbing that D.A. Mitchell is playing political games in a murder investigation,” spokesperson Emily Tuttle said in a statement to The New York Times.

“New York’s murder rate is less than half that of Phoenix, Ariz., because of the hard work of the N.Y.P.D. and all of our law enforcement partners,” she continued. “It is a slap in the face to them and to the victim in our case to refuse to allow us to seek justice and full accountability for a New Yorker’s death.”

Bragg, a Democrat, has been a locus for political criticism of New York City law enforcement, with detractors claiming that the district attorney is to blame for a perception of higher crime. Bragg is also the prosecutor who brought the business fraud case against former President Trump regarding hush money payments allegedly made to cover affairs, attracting more claims of political motivation.

Bragg sued Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, last April, accusing him of a “transparent campaign to intimidate and attack” his work, following a House investigation.

Mitchell is also politically connected across the nation. She served as the outside attorney to Senate Republicans during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and famously questioned the woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault during a public hearing, Christine Blasey Ford.

The Hill has reached out to the offices of Bragg and Mitchell comment.

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