This Tuesday, June 22, New Yorkers will go to the polls to select candidates to represent their respective parties for key city-wide positions, including those of mayor and comptroller. But for voters in the Manhattan Borough, there is one race on the ballot that stands out for its implications, which extend far beyond island and city limits: the race for the ballot. New York County District Attorney, commonly referred to as the Manhattan District Attorney.
Whoever wins the election will be given a workload that will, in all likelihood, include the prosecution of the Trump Organization in what could be the most important legal case in our country’s modern history. For more than two years, the office of Cy Vance Jr., the current Manhattan DA, has been leading a sprawling investigation in the inner workings of the Trump Organization’s finances resulting in part from hidden cash payments made to women who reported having extramarital affairs with Trump (which he denied). The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office also suggested he was looking into allegations that the Trump Organization has inflated property values in reporting to lenders and insurers while undervaluing assets for tax purposes.
In an unusual move, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has associates with State Attorney General Letitia James. James’s office, which was conducting its own civilian investigation, released a statement last month saying, “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization on a criminal basis, along with the Manhattan DA.” Asset replied calling it a “witch hunt” and writing: “There is nothing more corrupt than an investigation which is desperate for a crime.”
The investigation appears to have come to a head, but Vance, who became Manhattan’s DA in 2010, announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election. Many experts now believe that he will venture into uncharted legal territory and lay accusations against the former president or his organization (or both) before he leaves office.
Nine suitors – eight Democrats and one Republican – are now vying for the post.
The stakes for Tuesday’s primary couldn’t be higher. In a town where the Democrats registered outnumber Republicans over 6 to 1, it is almost certain that the winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary election will win this fall’s general election (the election is not part of the New York races using ranked choice vote this year).
Although there are few public polls available, punters as well as many political insiders believe this is truly a two-horse race between Democratic candidate Tali Farhadian Weinstein, former federal attorney and general counsel for the Brooklyn District Attorney, and Alvin Bragg, attorney in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. state attorney general.
Farhadian Weinstein, the wife of the hedge fund manager Boaz weinstein and a favorite among all of Wall Street, has invested over $ 8 million of his own fortune into his campaign. According to a recent ProPublica report, Farhadian Weinstein and her husband paid almost zero income tax over the past four years, a potentially thorny reality for the person vying to sue a former president who has avoided paying federal income taxes for years. (She released a statement saying that she and her husband have paid federal, state and New York City taxes for six of the past 11 years, adding that they have not paid tax on income in other years because they did not earn any net income.) Farhadian Weinstein also interviewed with Trump administration officials for a federal judge post, according to the New York Times.
Alvin bragg, on the other hand, has a solid base of support in Harlem, where he grew up. He also gained support from the New York political establishment, including endorsements U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler; and former U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. He was also involved in lawsuits against the Trump administration during his tenure as chief deputy attorney general of the state. It’s not hard to imagine the former president, who once called the New York investigation a witch hunt, exploiting Bragg’s past experience to say he is biased or politically motivated.
It should also be noted that three of the candidates never sued anyone. Tahanie Aboushi is a civil rights lawyer, while Dan Quart is a member of the State Assembly. Then there’s Eliza Orlins, a public defender who has amassed a huge social network after appearing on reality tv shows like “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race”. All three also promised to cut the office budget.
Whoever wins the election, the new prosecutor will inevitably be drawn into an unparalleled political and media maelstrom.
Vance’s office, which got Trump’s tax returns in February after a long legal battle that reached the Supreme Court, sought help from former federal prosecutor Mark F. Pomerantz, who oversaw the case against John A. Gotti, the boss of Gambino. The office also has called a special grand jury, although it is not clear whether they will be asked to consider possible indictments. This grand jury, however, can sit for up to six months to hear evidence – a delay that could potentially make the ultimate indictment decision until the end of the year.
If Vance’s office blames Trump, his family members, or other leaders of the Trump Organization, the former president and his staunch supporters are likely to be on the offensive, lashing out at the conservative media to attack the record of the government. new prosecutor and any perceived political motive. The future prosecutor and prosecutors could also face security concerns, given the potential ramifications this case could have on Trump and his political future.
If Vance’s office doesn’t lay charges before he leaves office, it will be up to the incoming DA to make that call, and in January 2022, Manhattan’s new DA will be drinking from the fire hose with no time. to slip into the job – suggesting that someone with high-level prosecution experience might be in the best position to be successful this time around.
With many candidates on the ballot, Manhattan voters must choose wisely Tuesday; whoever ends up winning the Manhattan DA race must not only have the wisdom and moral compass that the role has always required, but a lot of strength, courage, political intelligence and cojones confront the former president.
It won’t be a walk in Central Park. With the rise in crime, long-standing law enforcement and race issues on the minds of people, and a host of other issues related to ensuring justice is served in the communities. The most densely populated 23 square miles in America, the case against the Trump Organization will be far from the only item on the next prosecutor’s plate, but it will certainly be the one he is best remembered.