Alvin Bragg, the New York City district attorney who made a name for himself by arresting Donald Trump, waxed triumphantly about his effort to take down the former president. You see, the Manhattan prosecutor said, no one is above the law in the “business capital of the world.”
“We today uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that everyone stands equal before the law,” Bragg told reporters last week, following Trump’s arraignment on 34 criminal charges. “No amount of money and no amount of power changes that enduring American principle.”
So as Bragg tells it, the patriotic decision to prosecute Trump was all about equal justice under the law. Never mind that Bragg campaigned for office by pledging to prosecute the locally hated ex-president in a county where Joe Biden won 86.8% of votes in the 2020 presidential election. And never mind that Bragg’s 2021 campaign for the Manhattan DA job was bankrolled largely by billionaire activist George Soros, the biggest donor to Democratic Party candidates and causes.
That’s right, Bragg says his case is legally and ethically righteous. However, a closer look at the indictment reveals that the charges he filed are so legally dubious that only a Manhattan jury of Trump haters might buy his story.
He’s prosecuting Trump for allegedly falsifying business records six years ago, and he’s bypassing the two-year statute of limitations on such misdemeanors by elevating the charges to felonies. To make that possible under New York’s criminal code, he’s claiming the offenses were committed to cover up violations of election laws when Trump was running for president in 2016.
Those alleged violations stemmed from a supposed hush-money payment to a porn star who claimed to have had an affair with Trump. The payment wasn’t illegal on its face, but if it was proven to have been made solely for the purpose of helping Trump win the election, it would exceed the legal limit for a political contribution. Both the Federal Election Commission and the US Department of Justice looked into the matter at the time and found no cause to pursue a case against Trump.
Even if you give Bragg the benefit of the considerable doubt regarding his motives for going after Trump – just as the 2024 election is approaching, with the former president polling as the top Republican candidate – it would be tough to argue that he’s driven by the interests of justice. For one thing, Bragg shows no interest in investigating the leaks of information about Trump’s prosecution to the media, which is itself a felony under New York law.
For another, his approach to justice is making the city increasingly more lawless. Bragg used his first memo after taking office as DA in January 2022 to direct prosecutors to quit sending so many criminals to prison and downgrade charges for such crimes as armed robbery and drug dealing. He also ordered his underlings to make sentencing recommendations that address racial disparities in incarceration – meaning the criminal’s punishment should depend at least partly on his or her skin colour.
During Bragg’s first year as DA, 52% of the felony cases referred to his office were downgraded to misdemeanors (the opposite of the Trump charges being upgraded to felonies). Nearly half of the felony cases Bragg’s office did take on ended in defeat for the prosecution.
There are many such instances which you could read in full here.
Whatever is going on with law enforcement in Alvin Bragg’s Manhattan, it’s not about equal justice under the law – or any kind of true justice at all. This sort of unjust legal activism isn’t limited to New York, either. Soros has reportedly helped stake about 70 lawyers to victory in district attorney elections around the US. These social justice warriors have made their cities less safe and more racist, calibrating their prosecutorial policies to essentially legalize certain types of crime and favor certain categories of criminals.
The first arrest of a former US head of state is a clown show, which some foreign leaders have been honest enough to point out. For instance, El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said, “Think what you want about former President Trump and the reasons he’s being indicted, but just imagine if this happened in any other country, where a government arrested the main opposition candidate. The United States’ ability to use ‘democracy’ as foreign policy is gone.”