The man who led the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged financial crimes says in a new book released Tuesday that the case is strong and that D.A. Alvin Bragg should have charged the former president.
“He [Bragg] failed to recognise that the case needed to be brought to vindicate the rule of law and to demonstrate to the public that no one can hold himself above the law,” Mark Pomerantz writes in “People vs. Donald Trump.”
On Tuesday, when asked about Pomerantz’s book, Bragg told reporters, “We have an active ongoing investigation, so I’m constrained from what I can say.” But here’s what I have to say:… When the hard cases are ready, I will bring them. I came to the same conclusion as several senior prosecutors in my office, which was that Mark Pomerantz’s case was simply not ready.”
Given his prior experience in white collar and complex financial cases, Pomerantz, a former federal prosecutor now in private practise, was hired as a special assistant district attorney by Cy Vance, Bragg’s predecessor as Manhattan DA, in December 2020 to work on the Trump case. Pomerantz, as previously reported by NBC News, was directly involved in interviewing potential witnesses.
The investigation focused on whether Trump lied about the value of his assets in order to obtain loans and tax breaks. Pomerantz stated in his book that he had Vance’s approval to charge Trump with falsifying business records and other crimes related to the Stormy Daniels hush money payments and exaggeration of his net worth.
Bragg will take over as district attorney in January 2022, succeeding Vance. According to two people familiar with the situation, Bragg and several career prosecutors were concerned about the case Pomerantz was assembling, including his interpretation of the law and a lack of key facts in memos about the potential indictment. According to people familiar with the situation, four prosecutors left the team investigating Trump because of the way Pomerantz was running it.
According to the sources, when Bragg took office, Pomerantz did not provide him with a prosecution memo or an order of proof, which is a list of claims that must be proven in order to make the case. They claimed that when Bragg requested one, the Pomerantz team eventually produced one.
According to the sources, career prosecutors at the Manhattan office felt disconnected from Pomerantz and his team of outside hired attorneys. Some refused to join the team because they were concerned about Pomerantz’s leadership and the investigative process.
According to the sources, the Manhattan office’s appellate attorneys, who are in charge of reviewing indictments and cases for potential legal challenges, were left out of the process as Pomerantz’s team pushed for prosecution.
Two people familiar with the case said they are concerned that the publication of the book will give Trump’s lawyers leverage in any legal challenge should the DA’s office decide to indict him.
The book was also panned by the District Attorneys Association of New York, which said in a statement that “a former prosecutor speaking out during an ongoing criminal investigation in which he was involved is unfortunate and unprecedented.”
“The author is upending the norms and ethics of prosecutorial conduct by writing and releasing a book in the midst of an ongoing case.”
“I continue to be concerned that it could jeopardise or undermine our ongoing investigation,” Bragg said Tuesday.
In his resignation letter to Bragg, omerantz stated, “I believe that your decision not to prosecute Donald Trump now, and on the existing record, is misguided and completely contrary to the public interest.”
Pomerantz told NBC News on Tuesday that he was surprised to hear that some prosecutors refused to work on his team, despite the fact that his team had provided the DA’s office with adequate memos and briefings.
“We had lengthy meetings about the facts and the law,” Pomerantz explained. “I believe the District Attorney was briefed on the facts and the law. If he was concerned about receiving additional analysis, he would have received it.”
Though he acknowledges in his book that there was some concern about whether the charges against Trump were properly framed, he maintains that they were, and that the reasoning was “discussed and documented in memos that went to the incoming team.” We were fairly certain that by alleging false business records, and having a plethora of examples to choose from, we had a wide range of documents that were falsified.”
Pomerantz stated that he does not want to engage in a public battle with the DA’s office and that he hopes the public will focus on Trump’s behaviour as described in his book.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office stated in a statement that Pomerantz’s confidentiality and nondisclosure agreement, which he signed in December 2020, has no expiration date. The office also claims that they requested an advance copy of the book from the publisher but did not receive one.
CFO Allen Weisselberg of the Trump Organization pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges, and the Trump Organization was convicted of 17 felonies, including tax fraud, and fined $1.7 million in December. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, led by Vance, initiated and charged the case.
Trump has not been charged with any crime and has maintained his innocence.
Carey Dunne, a former Manhattan DA’s office employee who was brought back to successfully argue before the United States Supreme Court that the office should obtain Trump’s tax returns, also resigned in February 2022.
When asked in an interview last month if he would discuss the details of his investigation into Trump and his resignation from the DA’s office along with Pomerantz, Dunne said: “It’s not something that I’m interested in just talking about today, and I don’t see the need. There is already a fairly comprehensive record of what we were doing and investigating.”
Dunne and Pomerantz have formed the Free and Fair Litigation Group with Michele Roberts, former executive director of the NBA Players Association, to work on protecting voting rights and other democratic institutions.
Bragg praised Dunne and Pomerantz as “two very good lawyers” in an interview with CNN before taking office in January 2022, saying he hoped they would stay on the case.
“I think losing the
em would be a disservice to Manhattan,” Bragg said.