Court Battles

Who is Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg?

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg participates in a news conference in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. After a challenging first year in office, Manhattan’s district attorney is back in the spotlight with a reinvigorated investigation of former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

With former President Trump’s indictment on Thursday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) has placed himself at the center of a political firestorm.

Bragg, who convened the New York grand jury that ultimately decided to charge the former president for his role in a 2016 hush money payment has faced intense criticism from Trump and Republican lawmakers over what they have deemed a “politically motivated” investigation.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday accused the Manhattan district attorney of an “unprecedented abuse of power” and argued that he had “irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our presidential election.”

Several House Republicans have called on Bragg to testify before Congress, while other GOP lawmakers have suggested that he should jailed for “prosecutorial misconduct.”

But who is Alvin Bragg?

Stints in smaller NY attorney offices

Prior to becoming the Manhattan district attorney, Bragg served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and an assistant attorney general for New York.

While in the New York attorney general’s office, he oversaw the state’s cases against Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company, as well as the Trump Foundation.

Bragg also represented the family of Eric Garner, a Black man who was killed during a 2014 encounter with New York police, in their lawsuit against the city of New York.

Bragg elected Manhattan DA in 2021, takes over Trump probe

Bragg won the 2021 election to replace retiring Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (D). After winning a tough Democratic primary, Bragg sailed to victory in the general election with a 70-point margin, becoming Manhattan’s first Black district attorney.

He inherited the Trump investigation from Vance, who had previously launched two grand juries in 2021 to hear evidence about the former president and his company.

Just one month after Bragg was sworn in, two top prosecutors working on the Trump investigation in the Manhattan district attorney’s office resigned over his apparent reluctance to seek an indictment against the former president. 

The investigation into the Trump himself appeared to shift to the back burner in 2022, as Bragg brought a successful case against the Trump Organization for tax fraud and secured a guilty plea from the former chief financial officer of the company.

Bragg kickstarts hush money probe

However, in January of this year, reports emerged that Bragg had convened a new grand jury to hear evidence about Trump’s role in a $130,000 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.

Bragg appeared to be nearing an indictment earlier this month, as former Trump attorney Michael Cohen prepared to testify and prosecutors offered the former president an opportunity to appear before the grand jury himself.

After Trump speculated about a nearing indictment, the grand jury appeared set not to hear the case again until late April.

However, in a surprise move, the panel handed down its indictment on Thursday.

Tags Alvin Bragg Alvin Bragg Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump indictment Kevin McCarthy Manhattan District Attorney

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