Ex-Manhattan prosecutor describes internal clash over charging Trump
The Manhattan district attorney possessed sufficient evidence to convict former President Trump last year and was wrong to not seek charges, an ex-prosecutor in the case contends in his forthcoming book.
Mark Pomerantz argued his team built a “solid case” for securing Trump’s conviction on financial crimes, and he offered a searing criticism of how Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) oversaw the probe upon taking office, according to an advance copy of the book obtained by The Hill.
The 304-page book details Bragg’s reluctance to seek an indictment after succeeding District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. (D), which ultimately led to Pomerantz’s resignation in February 2022.
“We developed evidence convincing us that Donald Trump had committed serious crimes. As we put the facts together, many of us came to believe that we had enough evidence to convict him, and we could present a solid case in court that would lead to a guilty verdict,” Pomerantz wrote.
Pomerantz argued Bragg did not follow through on plans to move forward with an indictment because he was not familiar enough with the evidence, adding that since Bragg was so new, the case’s imperfections “loomed particularly large.”
“The district attorney agreed and authorized the new prosecution. But then the district attorney’s office went through one of its very infrequent regime changes. The new regime decided that Donald Trump should not be prosecuted, and the investigation faltered,” Pomerantz wrote.
The book is titled “People vs. Donald Trump” and will be released on Tuesday by Simon & Schuster.
Bragg in a statement said he didn’t read the book, but he criticized it for jeopardizing the office’s ongoing investigation. When reached for comment, his office also provided a copy of confidentiality rules in the employee handbook and a series of statements from prosecutor groups raising concerns.
“After closely reviewing all the evidence from Mr. Pomerantz’s investigation, I came to the same conclusion as several senior prosecutors involved in the case, and also those I brought on: more work was needed. Put another way, Mr. Pomerantz’s plane wasn’t ready for takeoff,” Bragg said in a statement.
“Our skilled and professional legal team continues to follow the facts of this case wherever they may lead, without fear or favor. Mr. Pomerantz decided to quit a year ago and sign a book deal,” he added.
The former president, meanwhile, has lashed out at Pomerantz.
“With all of this vicious disinformation being revealed by a ‘prosecutor,’ how can I ever be treated fairly in New York, or anywhere else? End the Witch Hunts!” Trump posted on Truth Social on Sunday.
The probe began prior to Pomerantz’s arrival with the investigation of a $130,000 hush money payment Trump’s longtime fixer, Michael Cohen, made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election.
Eventually, Pomerantz and the other prosecutors began focusing on a new prong: whether Trump’s businesses’ financial statements were manipulated unlawfully for tax and loan benefits.
They convened a grand jury in late 2021 and decided just before Vance retired that the office had enough evidence to prosecute Trump.
Pomerantz conceded the case wasn’t a “slam dunk,” but he argued Bragg ultimately declined to bring charges to the grand jury after being largely unavailable for much of the transition and spending most of one investigation meeting on his phone.
The ex-prosecutor said he began a “Hail Mary” effort to change his new boss’s mind, including emails to Bragg that bluntly expressed Pomerantz’s frustration.
“You need to respect our judgment, our decades of experience as prosecutors and defense lawyers, and the work that we have put into the case, more than you have to this point. Of course, you are the elected DA, and you must make your own judgment,” Pomerantz wrote in one email.
In the months since Pomerantz’s departure, Bragg has gone on to convict two business entities owned by the former president and secure a guilty plea by former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.
The probe has now returned to how it began: the hush money payment made to Daniels, the adult-film star whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Bragg’s office reportedly empaneled a grand jury last month, and legal experts say prosecutors appear to be considering state falsifying business record charges against the former president.
Pomerantz described the prong as the “zombie theory” in the book, noting it has faded before but has never died. Pomerantz reluctantly said he hopes they pursue the matter.
“If the ‘zombie’ case is the only case that [Bragg] brings against Trump, notwithstanding the trove of evidence that has now been made public about Trump’s fraudulent financial statements, that would be a very peculiar and unsatisfying end to this whole saga,” he wrote.
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