Meet the Manhattan DA who would bring criminal charges against Trump
As speculation mounts that former President Donald Trump could soon be indicted over hush money payments to an adult film actress in 2016, Alvin Bragg may have to make a history-making decision.
Who is he? Alvin Bragg is the 37th Manhattan district attorney, taking the post a little over a year ago.
- He's a Harlem native, a Democrat, has served as a state and federal prosecutor, and is the first Black person to serve as the Manhattan DA.
- Bragg has spent more than two decades working within the criminal justice system, and, according to his bio, focuses his energy on issues like recidivism, gun violence, and police misconduct.
- This isn't his first encounter with Trump-related litigation. He faced controversy at the beginning of his term as DA when he decided to not move forward on the long-running case surrounding the former president's alleged lies to banks and tax authorities. He later said the case wasn't ready.
What's the big deal? A grand jury is examining Trump's personal role in the hush money payments to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, over an alleged affair.
- If the grand jury votes to indict, it would be the first time a former president has been indicted. But ultimately, it would be up to Bragg whether to pursue those charges.
- NPR correspondent Ilya Marritz spoke with former federal prosecutor and a friend of Bragg, Danya Perry, about the matter: "Some of the legal theories, as much as we can see from the outside in, do appear to be novel. But I do give [Bragg] credit for starting from scratch, building his own case and making sure that he feels comfortable with it."
- For his part, on Saturday Trump called on his supporters to resist the DA's moves, posting on his social media platform Truth Social that they should "PROTEST" and "TAKE OUR NATION BACK".
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What are people saying?
Republicans across the board are not in favor of Bragg's efforts, calling them politically motivated. In fact, they have opened their own investigation into the investigation (say that five times fast). Here's representative Jim Jordan:
It's obvious that this is a sham. And something that we want to know: were federal funds involved? Did this stem from — it sure looks like it grew out of the special counsel investigation, because those are the legislative concerns we have as Congress.
And NPR correspondent Ilya Marritz says, politics aside, the logistics alone would be a tall order for Bragg:
If the grand jury does indict Trump, the logistics of bringing him in for fingerprinting for an arraignment will be an enormous 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 is innocent, and he's been lobbing abuse at the DA on social media all weekend.
A spokesperson for Bragg's office told NPR the work won't be affected:
We will not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process, nor will we let baseless accusations deter us from fairly applying the law ... In every prosecution, we follow the law without fear or favor to uncover the truth. Our skilled, honest and dedicated lawyers remain hard at work.
So, what now?
- NPR senior political correspondent Domenico Montanaro wrote in his analysis that "indications are that a grand jury in New York is very close to indicting Trump." But there's no official word on when that decision will be announced.
- Trump himself has insisted without evidence that "illegal leaks" will lead to his arrest Tuesday. At the time of publication, that hasn't happened. And his attorney clarified to NPR that the date is speculation based on media reports and not based in any communication for the DA's office.