Trump is guilty of ‘multiple’ felonies, says prosecutor who resigned

One of the senior Manhattan prosecutors investigating Donald Trump believed the former president was “guilty of multiple felonies” and that not holding him accountable was a “serious failure of justice,” according to a copy of his resignation letter. .

The prosecutor, Mark Pomerantz, submitted his resignation last month after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg stopped pursuing Trump’s indictment.

A prominent former federal prosecutor and white-collar defense attorney, 70-year-old Pomerantz, who had come out of retirement to work on the Trump investigation, resigned the same day as Kerry Dunne, another man leading the investigation. was a senior prosecutor.

23 letter from Pomerantz, obtained by The New York Times, provides a personal account of his decision to resign and for the first time explicitly states his belief that the office could have blamed the former president. Bragg’s decision was “contrary to the public interest,” he wrote.

“The team that is investigating Mr Trump leaves no doubt about whether he committed a crime – he did,” Pomerantz wrote.

Pomerantz and Dunne plan to accuse Trump of a felony in New York state—business records, specifically his annual financial statements.

Bragg’s decision not to pursue the charges – and the subsequent resignation – put the fate of the long-running investigation into serious doubt. If prosecutors had secured Trump’s indictment, it would have been the most high-profile case ever brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and would have made Trump the first US president to face criminal charges.

Earlier this month, the Times reported that the investigation came after weeks of growing disagreements between veteran prosecutors overseeing the case and the new district attorney. Much of the debate centered on whether prosecutors could prove that Trump intentionally falsified the value of his assets on the annual financial statements, the Times found, a necessary element to prove the case.

While Dunne and Pomerantz were confident that the office could demonstrate that the former president intended to increase the value of his golf clubs, hotels and office buildings, Bragg was not. He held off on pursuing an indictment against Trump, a decision that shut down Pomerantz and Dunne’s presentation of evidence to a grand jury and prompted their resignations.

Bragg has said that his office continues to investigate. For that reason, Bragg, a former federal prosecutor and deputy attorney general for New York state who became district attorney in January, has been barred from commenting on the specifics.

Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr., had decided to move to indictment in his final days in office, leaving Trump just weeks away from potential criminal charges. Bragg’s decision seems — for now, at least — to address one of the biggest legal threats Trump has faced.

The resignation letter shed a harsh light on that decision from the point of view of Pomerantz, who wrote that he believed there was sufficient evidence to prove Trump’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“No case is perfect,” Pomerantz wrote. “Whatever the risk of bringing the case, I believe that failure to prosecute will pose a great risk to the public’s confidence in the impartial administration of justice.”

In a statement responding to the letter, Trump’s attorney, Ronald Fischetti, said the allegations were not warranted and that Pomerantz “had the opportunity and failed to present the fruits of his investigation to the DA and his senior staff on several occasions.”

Fischetti, who was Pomerantz’s legal partner in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said, “We need to follow the rule of law and stick to the evidence when making a non-political charge decision based on a lack of evidence.” District Attorney Alvin Bragg for this. Nothing more.”

In its own statement, Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, did not call Pomerantz an “occasional trumper” and said, “We have never seen this level of corruption in our legal system before.”

Trump has long denied wrongdoing and launched personal attacks on those investigating him, including a small reference to Pomerantz. In a statement, he claimed that lawyers for Pomerantz’s former law firm “went to work in the district attorney’s office to viciously make sure ‘the job was done’.”

Pomerantz, who confirmed his resignation in a brief interview last month, declined to comment on the letter when contacted by the Times this week.

A spokeswoman for Bragg, Danielle Filson, said the investigation was ongoing and said, “A team of experienced prosecutors is working every day to ensure facts and law enforcement. We cannot say anything more about the ongoing investigation at this time.” Can and should not say.”

In his letter, Pomerantz acknowledged that Bragg “dedicated significant time and energy to understanding the evidence” in the inquiry and had made his decision in good faith. But, he wrote, “a decision taken in good faith may still go wrong.”

Pomerantz compared Bragg’s approach to that of Vance, who made the Trump investigation the centerpiece of his term and called the grand jury one last time. Pomerantz’s letter said that shortly before leaving office, Vance instructed prosecutors to prosecute Trump as well as “the other defendants as soon as reasonably possible.”

The letter did not name other defendants, but a recent Times article reported that prosecutors also envisioned charging Trump’s family business and his longtime chief financial officer, Alan Weiselberg, who was arrested last year at the company. had already been charged with, he was charged with one year. tax evasion scheme

Bragg has told aides that the investigation could proceed if any new evidence emerges or Trump Organization insiders decide to turn on Trump. Some investigators in the office saw either possibility as highly improbable.

“There are always additional facts to be pursued,” Pomerantz wrote in his letter. “But the investigative team, which has been working on the case for several months, does not believe that it makes sense for law enforcement to postpone prosecution in the hope that additional evidence will emerge anyway.”

He said, “I and others believe that your decision to no longer authorize prosecution will ruin any future possibility that Mr. Trump will be prosecuted for the criminal conduct we are investigating.” “

By the end of December, Trump’s investigative team was mostly united around Vance’s decision to pursue the charges — but that wasn’t always the case, the Times reported this month. Last year, three career prosecutors in the district attorney’s office opted to leave the team, uneasy with the pace at which it was progressing and what they believed were gaps in evidence.

Initially, Pomerantz and Dunne envisioned accusing Trump of the crime of “fraudulent planning”, believing that he had falsely increased his wealth on statements of financial position that could be used to obtain bank loans. was done for. But by the end of the year, he had changed course and planned to accuse Trump of falsifying business records—a simple affair essentially meant to portray Trump as a liar rather than a thief.

Pomerantz, who joined the investigation more than a year ago, said in the letter that Trump’s financial statements were “false” – that he had lied about his assets to “banks, national media, counterparties and many others, including the American people.” ..”

Pomerantz is not the only one involved in the investigation suggesting that Trump or his company broke the law. The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, whose office is assisting with the criminal investigation and conducting its own civil investigation, has filed court papers in the civil case, arguing that she has evidence that the Trump Organization ” fraudulent or deceptive” practices. ,

Trump has accused Bragg and James, who are both Black Democrats, of being a politically motivated “witch hunt” and “racist.”

James’s interrogation, which could lead to prosecution but not criminal charges, continues as she seeks to interrogate Trump and his two adult children under oath. Trump recently appealed a judge’s order to present James for questioning.

In another court filing, James revealed that Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, had severed ties with him and essentially withdrew his financial statements for a decade.

Mazar was shaping up to be a key witness in the criminal investigation as well. In January, Pomerantz questioned Trump’s accountant at the tomb before a grand jury, zeroing in on exaggerations in the financial statements.

But the statements also contained disclaimers, including acknowledgments that Mazars had neither audited nor substantiated Trump’s claims, potentially complicating the matter. And some of Bragg’s supporters have argued that winning would have been a difficult affair.

Nevertheless, Pomerantz wrote that he and other prosecutors believed that they had gathered enough evidence to establish the former president’s guilt, “we believe that if charges were brought and the case would have been fair.” was produced before the jury, the prosecution would prevail.”

Addressing a clear belief in Bragg’s office that they could lose at trial, Pomerantz wrote, “Respect the rule of law, and the need to reinforce the foundational proposition that ‘no man is above the law, ‘ requires that this prosecution also be brought if a conviction is not certain.”

Pomerantz is the former head of the criminal division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, as well as a longtime defense attorney. He worked for free on the Trump investigation.

At the time Dunne was serving as Vance’s general counsel, a job he’s held since early 2017. In that role, he successfully argued before the Supreme Court to gain access to Trump’s tax records.

Dunne has declined to comment.

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