Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is expected to bring felony charges against former President Donald Trump next week related to payments made in 2016 to settle rumors of an extramarital affair. The charges, which Bragg upgraded from a misdemeanor class, stand in stark contrast to the prosecutor’s history of reducing charges against the majority of cases on his watch.
Since taking office last year, DA Bragg has downgraded approximately 52 percent of all cases brought before his office. A significant portion of these cases involved reducing felony charges to misdemeanors. Under Bragg’s predecessor, less than 40 percent of cases were comprised of similar downgrades.
The pugnacious prosecutor has made headlines for refusing to seek prison time against all but the most violent offenders at a time when New York City has seen violent crimes spike by nearly 30 percent from a year ago. As leniency has increased, convictions have decreased with Bragg winning cases only 51 percent of the time, another measurable decline in success within only several years.
Federal prosecutors ultimately chose not to bring charges against President Trump, opening the door for Bragg to revive a case that for months looked to be beyond the reach of Trump’s critics. Several of Bragg’s deputies resigned to protest his suggestion that the case was too risky to prosecute and would compromise the integrity of the office. What changed Bragg’s mind is unclear.
On Saturday President Trump took to Truth Social to excoriate the district attorney and predicted an indictment will be coming Tuesday. Sources close to the investigation say the president would need to be fingerprinted and processed like any other defendant, though it is possible the president’s legal team could seek to have all casework done virtually. A spokesman for the former president confirmed that his team has received no news about an impending arrest.
In his statement, Trump encouraged supporters to protest the arrest, a call that may rankle Washington at a time when the January 6, 2021 riots are fresh in minds due to new footage presented by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.