Alvin Bragg: the Manhattan DA leading the probe into Trump’s role in hush money scheme
(CNN) Alvin Bragg, a former New York state attorney and federal prosecutor, drew national attention when he made history as the first black attorney for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Now he’s back in the spotlight as his office nears completion in its years-long investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged role in a hush money scheme.
Bragg has remained tight-lipped on the details of Trump’s latest investigation, which he inherited from his predecessor, Cy Vance, who began the investigation when Trump was still in the White House.
But on Saturday, Trump announced on social media, ahead of any details from Bragg’s office, that he expects to be arrested in connection with the investigation within days. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment on the former president’s comments.
The high-profile case relates to a $130,000 payment made by Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her silence for an alleged affair with Trump a decade ago. Trump has repeatedly denied having an affair with Daniels.
The office’s potential ruling would mark the first time a former US president and presidential front-runner has been indicted.
Ahead of Bragg’s decision, sources told CNN that city, state and federal law enforcement agencies in New York City have been discussing this week how to prepare for a possible lawsuit against Trump. The former president has called on his supporters to protest and “take back our nation” if he is arrested.
Discussions between the New York Police Department and the FBI have also focused on the possibility of increased threats against Bragg and his staff from Trump supporters in the wake of an indictment, sources told CNN.
Bragg has aggressively pursued Trump and other progressive priorities so far in his term, including not prosecuting some low-level crimes and finding alternatives to incarceration.
Before Bragg was sworn in last year, he had already worked on cases involving Trump and other high-profile names in his role as New York state’s deputy attorney general.
He said he had helped sue the Trump administration more than 100 times, and led a team that sued the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which resulted in the former president paying $2 million to a number of charities and disbanding the foundation. Bragg also led the lawsuit against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein and his company, which alleged a hostile work environment.
The Harvard-educated attorney previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, worked as a civil rights attorney, and as a professor and co-director of New York Law School’s Racial Justice Project, where he represented family members. of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after being placed in an unauthorized chokehold by a then-police officer, in a lawsuit against New York City seeking information.
Bragg emerged victorious in a crowded Democratic primary in the summer of 2021 to lead the coveted Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which Vance had announced earlier that year that he would not seek re-election. During the campaign, he often spoke about his experience growing up in Harlem, saying that he was once detained as a 15-year-old “many times at gunpoint by the police.”
“Besides being the first Black district attorney, I think I’ll probably be the first district attorney to have a gun put on him by the police,” he said during a victory speech after his historic election to the office. “I think I’ll be the first district attorney to have a homicide victim on his doorstep. I think I’ll be the first district attorney in Manhattan to have a semi-automatic gun pointed at him. I think he’ll I’m the first District Attorney in Manhattan to have a boyfriend, get out of prison, and stay with him. And I’m going to govern from that perspective.”
Bragg ran as a reformer, issuing a memo just days after taking office detailing new policies on charges, parole, pleas and sentencing — a plan that drew criticism from police union leaders. He said his office will not prosecute marijuana misdemeanors, toll evasion and prostitution, among other crimes.
CNN’s Devan Cole, Kara Scannell and Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.