Trump New York criminal probe has new prosecutor after lawyers quit

FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando
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By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new prosecutor has been chosen to lead a criminal probe into former U.S. President Donald Trump, the Manhattan district attorney's office said on Friday, after the departures of two top lawyers threw the investigation's future into question.

Susan Hoffinger will now lead the probe into Trump and the practices of his family business, the Trump Organization, according to Danielle Filson, a spokeswoman for Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney.

This week Special Counsel Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz - who had been leading the probe begun by former District Attorney Cyrus Vance - resigned. The New York Times reported they left after Bragg indicated to them he had doubts about pursuing a case against Trump.

Reuters has not been able to reach Dunne or Pomerantz for comment. Ron Fischetti, a lawyer for Trump, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Hoffinger's appointment. On Wednesday, Fischetti said the departures indicated "the case is over" and that Bragg would not bring charges against Trump.

Both Bragg's probe and a separate civil investigation by New York State Attorney General Letitia James focus on whether Trump misrepresented the value of his real estate properties. Investigators are looking into whether values were inflated to obtain bank loans and reduced to lower tax bills.

Trump, a Republican who left office in January 2021, has previously denied wrongdoing and said both the state and city investigations were politically motivated. He has not ruled out seeking the presidency again in 2024.

Both Bragg and James are Democrats, as is Vance, who did not seek re-election.

The criminal probe resulted last July in tax fraud charges against the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. Both Weisselberg and the company pleaded not guilty.

Neither the Trump Organization nor its lawyer Alan Futerfas immediately responded to requests for comment.

Last week, a state judge overseeing James' probe directed Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump, to answer questions under oath in depositions. The Trump family will appeal that ruling, their lawyer said.

James said on Friday that the appeal would not affect her team's investigation.

"Make no mistake: My office will continue to pursue this case without fear or favor because no one is above the law," James said in a statement.

Hoffinger worked at a private law firm focusing on criminal defense before joining Bragg's office as executive assistant district attorney and chief of investigations in February, according to her LinkedIn profile. She had previously served in the Manhattan District Attorney's office in the 1990s.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Howard Goller)