New Manhattan DA Wins Dem Primary Day After Trump Org Charges

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July 2, 2021 3:57 p.m.

Alvin Bragg, a former federal prosecutor, is all but assured of becoming the next Manhattan District Attorney, responsible for investigating former president Trump and prosecuting his family business.

Tali Farhadian Weinstein, the Wall Street-backed runner-up in the race to replace the retiring Cyrus Vance, issued a statement on Friday saying that she had called Bragg to concede in the borough’s Democratic primary. Bragg currently leads by around 7,000 votes, according to the city’s Board of Elections, with only absentee ballots outstanding. He is virtually assured victory in the November general election.

Bragg would be the first African American to hold the office and will inherit the Trump investigation from Vance.

The probe secured its first charges on Thursday, with the Trump Organization, a payroll subsidiary and the group’s Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg all facing a string of tax fraud-related charges.

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Investigators with the DA’s office have been probing the former president’s business practices since at least 2019. That year saw former Trump attorney Michael Cohen allege that the company often inflated the value of its assets for lenders and deflated them for the tax authorities.

In the Thursday charges, prosecutors suggested that tax evasion was commonplace at the Trump Org. Documents alleged that Weisselberg would withdraw large amounts of cash from the company’s coffers for his personal use, and accused the organization of using spreadsheets to track taxed salaries and untaxed compensation.

If Weisselberg and the Trump Org make it to trial, that would likely take place under Bragg’s direction. Vance will depart the office at the end of the year.

The question remaining from the indictments comes down to what further charges the DA’s office may bring. Former Manhattan prosecutors told TPM on Thursday that elements of the charges suggested that there is room for new indictments, though that all remains unclear.

Bragg campaigned on his record as a prosecutor, in which he worked both for the DOJ and as a deputy state attorney general. As a Manhattan federal prosecutor, Bragg worked under then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara. At the attorney general’s office, he focused on both white collar crime and police misconduct issues.

Bragg pointed during the campaign to the dozens of times that he filed lawsuits against the Trump administration and the former president himself.

“I have investigated Trump and his children and held them accountable for their misconduct with the Trump Foundation,” Bragg told the Times last month. “I know how to follow the facts and hold people in power accountable.”

Separate reporting from the Wall Street Journal has suggested that others, including Trump’s former bodyguard Matthew Calamari, received similar untaxed “perks” as Weisselberg, including leases on luxury cars.

But prosecutors have reportedly been trying to use their leverage against Weisselberg, who has worked for the Trumps and the Trump Organization since the 1970s. The accountant has so far refused to cooperate with the investigation.

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