Donald Trump’s lawyer wants prosecutors investigated: Joe Tacopina, who is representing the former president, has accused prosecutors in the Manhattan DA’s office of carrying out a “politically motivated investigation.”
Media reports say that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has signaled to former President Donald Trump that he will be indicted, in the case involving alleged payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, and the possibility that he violated laws against falsifying business records, or possibly campaign finance laws.
It’s one of several criminal and civil investigations the former president is facing, although it appears likely that charges will arrive first in the Manhattan case.
Donald Trump earlier this week declined an invitation to appear before the grand jury in the case, often a final step before an indictment is handed down.
If charged, Donald Trump will be the first former president of the United States to be charged with a crime.
Trump’s attorney in the case, Joe Tacopina, is calling for an investigation of the prosecutors.
Per CBS News, Tacopina has sent a letter to the commissioner of New York City’s Department of Investigation, alleging that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his predecessor, Cyrus Vance, Jr., are carrying out a “politically motivated investigation,” and “weaponizing” their office against Donald Trump.
The attorney went on to accuse the prosecutors of “scouring every aspect of President Trump’s personal life and business affairs, going back decades, in the hopes of finding some legal basis — however far-fetched, novel or convoluted — to prosecute him.”
Bragg’s office did not comment to CBS, but Vance, who is out of office, did send them an email.
“It is hard to argue the previous investigations were politically motivated,” the former DA, who did not charge Trump with anything while he was in office, said.
“The United States Supreme Court — twice — rejected the former President’s argument that the investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office was politically motivated,” Vance told CBS.
The criminal probe into Trump by the Manhattan prosecutors has been going on for more than five years and included multiple cases that went to the Supreme Court, including one involving the office’s attempts to obtain Trump’s tax returns.
In early 2022, shortly after Bragg took office as district attorney, the office appeared to determine that Trump would not be charged with a crime. This led two veteran prosecutors to quit the office, and one of them, Mark Pomerantz, later wrote a book about the experience called “The People vs. Donald Trump.”
Tacopina’s letter, CBS News said, extensively cites Pomerantz’s memoir, although Pomerantz is not involved in the current case, having resigned from the office in February of 2022.
But after the office obtained criminal convictions of the Trump Organization and its longtime CFO, the probe appeared to have been revived.
Bragg appeared over the weekend on MSNBC to discuss the case, although he was limited in what he could say about it.
“We follow the facts. It doesn’t matter what party you are, it doesn’t matter your background. What did you do? And what does the law say?” Bragg said on Politics Nation, adding that he is “constrained from saying anything more than that because I don’t want to prejudice any investigation.”
Bragg also discussed how the office makes determinations in such cases.
“We’re looking at the facts and the law and the facts as they develop,” he said in the MSNBC interview. “We review documents, we talk to witnesses and so, yes, we live in this world, we may hear what this pundit says and we may hear all the commentary, but our focus is on the evidence and the law.”
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, and fixer — who went to prison for lying to Congress and other crimes —and who is cooperating with the Manhattan case testified before the grand jury.
His attorney, Lanny Davis, told CBS News that “we were very impressed with the professionalism of this group of prosecutors.”
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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.