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The Manhattan grand jury empaneled to investigate Donald Trump has packed up. District Attorney Alvin Bragg says a probe is ongoing — new subpoenas have been issued in recent weeks — but his actions make clear he’s pulling punches rather than pursuing what appear to be solid fraud charges.
After Bragg, in his first months on the job, slammed the brakes on a Trump investigation that had been speeding along under his predecessor, the two lead prosecutors on the case, Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, got whiplash and angrily exited the vehicle. In the resignation letter that found its way into the public view (after the DA’s office refused to turn it over to this newspaper despite our Freedom of Information Law request), Pomerantz said he is convinced that Trump “is guilty of numerous felony violations of the Penal Law” linked to his financial statements: “The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did.”
Bragg says all deadlines are artificial and his office keeps digging, suggesting he’ll convene a new grand jury if necessary.
But cold feet have serious consequences. A new panel would start from square one, with a burden to bring back all witnesses and rebuild the case block by block. Meantime, star witness Michael Cohen told The Daily Beast that he’s done: “I spent countless hours, over 15 sessions — including three while incarcerated. I provided thousands of documents, which coupled with my testimony, would have been a valid basis for an indictment and charge,” he said. “The fact that they have not done so despite all of this...I’m not interested in any further investment of my time.”
Bragg shouldn’t have fretted about relying on the testimony of Cohen, a longtime Trump ally and confessed felony tax evader. Fred Reis, cashier of several Al Capone-controlled gambling operations, was central to the tax-evasion case against Scarface. And Sammy “The Bull” Gravano’s testimony convicted John Gotti. You don’t have to be a saint to help bring down a sinner.