In an interview with “60 Minutes,” prosecutor Mark Pomerantz talks about the case the Manhattan DA’s office had against the former president – and how Donald Trump could still face charges from that office.
One of the possible prosecution threats former President Donald Trump faces comes from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which reportedly began presenting evidence to a grand jury last week.
That case reportedly centers on the former president’s “hush money” payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
There are indications that criminal charges in a case related to Daniels are possible. With that case before a grand jury, it appears further along than the cases being investigated by Special Counsel Jack Smith, related to January 6 and the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation.
Book Details the Investigation
But a year earlier, the same prosecutors reportedly considered an even more expansive criminal case against the former president – and one of the prosecutors involved has come forward with a new book about that process.
That prosecutor is Mark Pomerantz, a former U.S. Attorney who was brought into the Manhattan prosecutor’s office, out of retirement, to investigate a case against Trump. After District Attorney Alvin Bragg opted not to bring the case, Pomerantz resigned from the office last year.
Now, he’s written a book, “People V. Donald Trump,” about what happened last year.
The New York Times had already reported that the book contains Pomerantz’s claims that he sought to bring a case against Trump personally under New York state racketeering laws. The book says that the investigation reached into everything from Trump University to Trump’s now-defunct foundation.
“He demanded absolute loyalty and would go after anyone who crossed him. He seemed always to stay one step ahead of the law,” Pomerantz wrote in the book, per the Times. “In my career as a lawyer, I had encountered only one other person who touched all of these bases: John Gotti, the head of the Gambino organized crime family.”
Pomerantz appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday to discuss the book and the case against the ex-president.
“If you take the exact same conduct – and make it not about Donald Trump and not about a former president of the United States, would the case have been indicted? It would have been indicted in a flat second,” Pomerantz said on the show. The segment did not mention the Stormy Daniels matter specifically.
Components of the Investigation Make Up Current Cases
According to the show, there was no disagreement in the office that there was wrongdoing on Trump’s part, related to his inflating the net worth of his properties. Those allegations are at the heart of another case, the lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James that was filed last year.
Pomerantz said that “everyone on his team concluded Donald Trump had lied about his assets to appear wealthier than he was to obtain multimillion-dollar favorable bank loans to expand his real estate empire,” and used that money to buy hotels.
“What the investigation determined was that the financial statements that were submitted to banks for those years were overstated in each case by literally billions of dollars,” Pomerantz said on the “60 Minutes” interview. “The financial statements that he prepared were given to the banks and had to be given to the banks, in order to get the loans that he got. So he got hundreds of millions of dollars of bank financing in connection with many of his properties.”
Pomerantz also explained how he concluded the scam worked.
“The tactics varied from property to property to property. What they had in common was that they were dishonest,” he said on CBS. “The accounting spreadsheets valued Mar-a-Lago at $739 million in 2018; but Attorney General James concluded it was only worth about $75 million, almost 10 times less, in part because Mr. Trump had given away the residential development rights for a tax deduction.”
Manhattan District Attorney Rules
So why didn’t the Manhattan District Attorney’s office charge Trump for this alleged scheme, which he compared to the actions of John Gotti, and indicated that a racketeering indictment was possible? Pomerantz was one of the lawyers who prosecuted Gotti in the 1990s and was also part of the team that helped develop the legal definition of racketeering.
According to Pomerantz, District Attorney Bragg came to him and said ‘Okay. You need a decision? You get a decision.’ And the decision was no. ‘You’re not going forward.’ Reporting has indicated that Bragg was concerned that the office did not have a criminal case against Trump that they could prove in court.
Bragg had said in February of 2022 that the office would not bring charges at that time, “so that we could continue our investigation, which is what we’re doing.” Later last year, the office obtained a criminal conviction against the Trump Organization, although not against Trump himself.
“This was a righteous case. You should bring it. It’s important. And if you made the wrong decision, make a better decision,” Pomerantz said on “’60 Minutes,” when asked what he would say if he could speak to Bragg about the case.
Donald Trump on “60 Minutes” Segment
Trump responded to the segment on Truth Social Sunday night.
“The 60 Minutes ‘hit job’ doesn’t say that the Financial Statements have a powerful & complete ‘Disclaimer Clause,’ that the properties & assets are generally worth far more today than they were in the financial statement, that the most valuable asset is not even listed in the statement, that lawyer Mark Pomerantz & his law firm were Clinton’s lawyers who then went to work for the D.A. to ‘get Trump,’ that Pomerantz & his antics make it impossible for me to be treated fairly, & NOBODY WAS HURT!,” he wrote.
It is not true that Pomerantz has ever acted directly as an attorney for Bill or Hillary Clinton, although his former law firm, Paul Weiss, has deep Democratic ties and has hosted fundraisers for Hillary Clinton in the past. Paul Weiss, however, is a very large law firm, and Trump has retained at least one lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, who is a former law partner of Pomerantz himself.
Pomerantz announced in January that he has joined with Carey Dunne — another lawyer who resigned from the DA’s office after the Trump decision — and former NBA Players Association head Michele Roberts to form a new pro bono law firm called the Free and Fair Litigation Group.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.