As rumors mount that former President Donald Trump could soon face charges of paying a 2016 adult film actress silence money, Alvin Bragg may have to make a historic decision.
Who is he? Alvin Bragg is the 37th District Attorney of Manhattan, having taken office a little over a year ago.
- He is a Harlem native, Democrat, has served as a state and federal attorney, and is the first black man to serve as District Attorney in Manhattan.
- Bragg has worked in the criminal justice system for over two decades and, according to his biography, focused his energy on issues such as recidivism, gun violence, and police misconduct.
- This is not his first encounter with the Trump-related lawsuit. He faced controversy early in his term as district attorney when he decided not to move forward on a long-running case involving the former president’s alleged lies to banks and the tax authorities. He later said that the case was not ready.
Do you think? A grand jury is looking into Trump’s personal role in paying hush money to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, in connection with an alleged affair.
- If the grand jury votes in favor of the indictment, it will be the first time a former president has been indicted. But ultimately it will be up to Bragg whether to continue these accusations.
- NPR correspondent Ilya Marritz spoke to former U.S. attorney and Bragg friend Danya Perry about this: “Some of the legal theories, as far as we can see from the outside, do seem new. [Bragg] kudos for starting from scratch, building his own business and making sure he feels comfortable with it.”
- For his part, Trump on Saturday urged his supporters to resist the DA’s move by posting on his social media platform Truth Social that they should “PROTEST” and “TAKE OUR NATION.”
Not enough politics? Listen Mind it episode about the rise of Ron DeSantis.
What do people say?
Republicans across the board are not supporting Bragg’s efforts, calling them politically motivated. In fact, they opened their own investigation of the investigation (quick to say it five times). Here is Rep. Jim Jordan:
Obviously, this is a scam. And something we want to know: were federal funds involved? Was it related to — it looks like it grew out of the special counsel’s investigation, because those are legislative issues that we have as Congress.
And NPR correspondent Ilya Marritz says that politics aside, logistics alone would be a challenge for Bragg:
If Trump is indicted by a grand jury, the logistics of bringing him in to be fingerprinted for arraignment will be a major test of Bragg’s ability to coordinate with the former president, his lawyers, the secret service and the police. There are security concerns, including for Bragg and his staff. Trump has always said he’s innocent, and he’s been touting insults to the district attorney on social media all weekend.
A spokesman for Bragg’s office told NPR that the operation would not be affected:
We will not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the process of justice, and we will not allow unfounded accusations to deter us from applying the law fairly… In every prosecution, we follow the law without fear or preference in order to expose the truth. Our experienced, honest and dedicated lawyers continue to work hard.
And now what?
- NPR senior political correspondent Domenico Montanaro wrote in his analysis that “there are indications that the grand jury in New York is very close to indicting Trump.” But there is no official information about when this decision will be announced.
- Trump himself, without any evidence, insisted that “illegal leaks” would lead to his arrest on Tuesday. At the time of publication, this has not happened. And his lawyer clarified to NPR that the date is a guess based on media reports, not any communication to the DA’s office.
To learn more: