The consensus —even among Democrats who despise Donald Trump— is that Alvin Bragg has made a colossal mess of things.
Recently, the Manhattan District Attorney compounded one legal blunder with another. This should surprise no one. Bragg is the kind of guy who could screw up a free lunch. Incompetence is his métier.
In his brief tenure as DA, he has managed to increase the number of criminals terrorizing the streets of New York City by refusing to prosecute many of them or dropping serious felonies to petty misdemeanors. Innocent victims of the rampant crime fume and rage against Bragg, while prosecutors in his charge have abandoned ship.
Like the crazed captain in Moby Dick, Bragg is obsessed with harpooning Trump, his white whale. In the DA’s twisted mind, all evil in the world is personified by the former president. You can almost hear Bragg channeling Ahab’s words, “They think me mad, but I’m demoniac, I am madness maddened!”
Instead of getting a mental health check-up, Bragg chose to indict the former president based on a transparently invented crime that is wholly unsupported by the law and contradicted by the facts.
His warped theory goes something like this: Trump supposedly violated campaign finance laws by paying money to a lying accuser in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement, which is legal. Forget that the transaction itself does not count as a campaign contribution. The federal prosecutors determined it doesn’t. So did the Federal Election Commission. Both reviewed the matter and concluded that no laws were broken.
But there’s more. In his convoluted indictment, Bragg cites as unlawful a series of reimbursements made by Trump in the year 2017. You’ll note that this was well after the 2016 election. Under the relevant statutes, it is impossible to have intended to feloniously influence an election retroactively. It makes no sense and is contrary to the established law.
Never mind that the statute of limitations long ago expired. Bragg thinks they should be held in suspended animation just for him. They cannot be. There are limits imposed by law, and the DA has no credible argument that he is entitled to a special exception.
A surprising number of Democrats and lefty legal analysts are trashing Bragg’s indictment as legal garbage. With few defenders, a congressional committee is now demanding answers. Like Ahab, the crew has turned against him. So, what did Bragg do? The possessed DA followed the Moby Dick narrative by doubling down on his mania. He sued the committee.
You don’t have to re-read Herman Melville to know how this will turn out.
Bragg’s torturous lawsuit against the House Judiciary Committee is deserving of ridicule not because it is, on its face, specious…but because it is a desperate bid to hide his own unethical conduct. The district attorney has mangled the duty of a prosecutor to be fair and equitable. In the process, he obliterated Trump’s presumption of innocence, not to mention the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights and due process guarantees.
Bragg ran on the campaign promise to prosecute and incarcerate Trump. This was before he had access to any of the germane evidence. By prejudging a case and preordaining an outcome to further his career ambitions, the DA has violated the cannons of ethics that govern prosecutors to see that justice is done, not merely to gain a conviction.
Bragg is afraid of being forced to explain himself in front of congress because his aberrant actions are inexplicable. So, he sprinted to the nearest federal judge begging her to intervene by issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would allow him to coverup his Machiavellian machinations.
Oblivious to the irony, Bragg accuses committee chairman Jim Jordan of an “unconstitutional attack” on the DA’s unconstitutional indictment. The opposite is true. Jordan’s probe is constitutionally justified, but Bragg’s charging document is constitutionally defective because it fails to inform the defendant of what underlying crimes he has allegedly committed.
For even more comedy, turn to the page in the requested TRO where Bragg claims that any Capitol Hill inquiry will expose “highly sensitive and confidential local prosecutorial information.” Hilarity aside, the DA’s own assistant, Mark Pomerantz, already breached every confidence in the investigation by writing a venomous 300 page book disclosing nearly every detail in the Trump witch hunt.
The committee has properly subpoenaed Pomerantz to testify this week, but Bragg wants to put a sock in his ex-aide’s mouth. Why? Because the author openly confesses that Trump was targeted for purely political reasons, not because he violated any laws. Pomerantz single-handedly makes the case that the former president is the victim of selective prosecution. Writing the book was idiotic, to be sure. But it underscores the low level of intellect and high level of malevolence among Bragg’s slimy confederates.
The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently ruled that Congress has broad oversight authority involving federal matters. Here, there are three. First, Bragg admits he used federal taxpayer funds to target Trump. Second, by referring to federal campaign laws as the basis for his indictment, the local DA is clearly usurping federal authority. Finally, the aforementioned evidence of political targeting demonstrates that Bragg’s indictment is a blatant attempt to interfere in the upcoming presidential election by knocking out his own party’s leading opponent with a meritless criminal case.
As I have argued before, Bragg’s reprehensible conduct is deserving of disbarment. And more. The DA himself should be in the dock, not Trump, for his brazen abuse of the legal process. While it may not rise to the level of obstruction of justice, he could —and should— be held in criminal contempt of court for engineering a patently false case in what amounts to malicious prosecution.
I am reminded of the district attorney, Michael Nifong, in the phony Duke lacrosse case who conspired to withhold exculpatory evidence that showed the defendants’ complete innocence. The disgraced DA was disbarred and briefly jailed for contempt of court. According to a key witness in the Trump grand jury proceedings, Bragg pulled a similar maneuver by withholding exculpatory evidence.
Conjuring up a crime that doesn’t exist to pin on a political nemesis is unconscionable, if not criminal. It is the same obsessive and compulsive mania that led to Ahab’s demise. Bragg has entangled his foot in the whale’s rope and should be dragged to the depths.