Trump’s criminal investigation continues

Michael R. by Sisak | The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Refuting suggestions that he has lost interest in going after Donald Trump, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Thursday that criminal investigations into the former president and his business practices are continuing “without fear or favour.” However, the leadership of the investigation has changed recently.

In a rare public statement, Bragg denied that ending the three-year investigation or that a grand jury term ending this month would impede his office’s ability to bring charges.
Citing confidentiality rules, the district attorney said he could not discuss the details of the investigation, but pledged to publicly disclose when it was over.

“In recent weeks, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has been asked repeatedly whether our investigations regarding former President Donald J. Trump, the Trump Organization, and his leadership are ongoing,” Bragg wrote. “this is.”

Democrats’ confirmation of the investigation was part of a double dose of bad legal news for Trump on Thursday.

It came shortly after New York’s attorney general’s office told a judge that it did not meet a March 31 deadline for contempt of Trump and to turn over documents in a parallel civil investigation. To be fined $10,000 per day. Trump is appealing a subpoena for his testimony in that investigation, but no one is required to provide documents to him.

Attorney General Letitia James said, “The judge’s order was quite clear: Donald J. Trump must comply with our summons and hand over the relevant documents to my office.” “Instead of following a court order, Mr. Trump is trying to avoid it. We are seeking the court’s immediate intervention because no one is above the law.”

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, called James’ request for sanctions “frivolous and baseless” and said the former president has “consistently complied with numerous search requests” from his office over the years.

Bragg’s statement marked the district attorney’s first public comment on the Trump investigation since the two men who were leading it, Mark Pomerantz and Kerry Dunne, resigned on February 23 in a dispute over the direction of the case.

Pomerantz, a former Mafia prosecutor, wrote in a resignation letter that he believed Trump was “guilty of several felonies”, but Bragg, who inherited the investigation after taking office in January, pursued the charges. had decided not to.

Pomerantz said in the letter published by The New York Times last month that there was “enough evidence to establish Mr. Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt”, for allegations he had secured loans and his image as a wealthy businessman. Misrepresented financial statements to burn.

“I believe that your decision not to sue Donald Trump on the now and current record is misguided and completely contrary to the public interest,” Pomerantz wrote.

Bragg’s silence following the resignation and the publication of Pomerantz’s letter on 23 March gave rise to a narrative that the investigation was effectively dead.

After Pomerantz and Dunne left, Trump’s attorney Robert Fischetti told the Associated Press: “I’m a very happy man. In my opinion, this investigation is over.”

Pomerantz and Dunne launched an investigation under former District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

Pomerantz wrote that Vance had instructed him to seek the indictment of Trump and the other defendants “as soon as possible”, but Bragg came to a different conclusion after reviewing the evidence.

Vance and Bragg are Democrats. No former president has ever been charged with a crime.

In his statement on Thursday, Bragg tried to back the narrative by putting Trump on notice that he had not done so while reassuring supporters who backed him because he vowed to continue investigating the former president, a Republican. Had promised.

Bragg said that a team of “dedicated, experienced career prosecutors” are working on the investigation, led by their investigative division chief Susan Hoffinger, and they are “going through documents, interviewing witnesses”. and are searching for evidence that had not been discovered before.”

“In the long and proud tradition of white-collar prosecutors in the Manhattan DA’s office, we are conducting a thorough investigation and following the facts without fear or favor,” Bragg said.
Trump has called the investigation a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

So far, the three-year investigation has only brought charges of tax fraud against Trump’s company, the Trump Organization and its longtime finance chief Alan Weiselberg, related to lucrative fringe benefits such as rent, car payments and school tuition. He has pleaded not guilty.

Weiselberg’s lawyers filed court papers in February asking a judge to dismiss his case, arguing that prosecutors targeted him as a punishment because he would not turn over the former president.
Trump has cited a potential threat from the criminal case as he appeals a decision that requires him to answer questions under oath in the civil investigation of James.

Trump’s lawyers argue that James, who hired two attorneys to work on the criminal case, obtained a state law under the guise of a civil statement to allow prosecutors to testify before a criminal grand jury. for preventing them from summoning without giving immunity.

James, a Democrat, has said his investigation has uncovered that Trump has misrepresented the value of assets such as golf courses and skyscrapers on his financial statements for more than a decade.

Bragg said his career and perspective have been shaped by “high-profile, complex investigations,” including a lawsuit he oversaw a top deputy in the attorney general’s office, which led to Trump’s charity was closed on charges that he used to further his political career. and business interests.

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