Why did prosecutors leading Trump criminal probe resign? Tax fraud investigation may be dead
For the past few weeks, the investigation into Donald Trump's alleged tax fraud by New York Attorney General Letitia James has been making headlines, and with good reason. However, another case against Trump, which was making news back in 2020 and 2021 has now gone silent. On February 23, 2022, we may know why, after it was revealed two of the prosecutors in the case abruptly resigned.
The second one is of course the criminal investigation of tax fraud, which was opened by former District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in 2018. The criminal case has been running parallel to James' civil one until Manhattan's new DA Alvin Bragg was sworn in. Trump has slammed both cases as "witch hunts", and repeatedly attempted to oppose them at every turn. However, it seems he might have his work cut out for him, at least in the criminal case. So far, the biggest reveal from Vance's investigation was the charges against Allen Weisselberg, the longtime CFO of the Trump Organization. He was indicted on July 1, but so far, was the only major figure from the company to be indicted. Since then, we've heard almost nothing, and now we may know why.
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Why did prosecutors resign?
On February 23, it was reported that Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz have not just quite the probe itself, but also resigned. The news was dubbed "an unexpected development", but should perhaps come as little surprise. Both prosecutors refused to detail why exactly they resigned, and the DA's office too did not elaborate beyond saying it was "grateful for their service."
The resignations are the biggest development to happen in the case since Weisselberg's indictment. In mid-January, there was a flurry of activity at the lower Manhattan courthouse, where the grand jury is impaneled in the case. However, since February, there's been little movement, and both Dunne and Pomerantz have themselves made rare appearances in court. Time is running out fast for the probe, with the grand jury's term set to expire in April. So why the lull?
According to The New York Times, the answer comes down to Bragg. The DA reportedly "had doubts about moving forward with a case," which is why he has declined to publicly comment on it since taking office. "Without Mr. Bragg’s commitment to move forward, the prosecutors late last month postponed a plan to question at least one witness," The Times reported. It is unclear why Bragg has lost interest in the case, but it could have something to do with the fact that no one is willing to turn on Trump.
Prosecutors have so far faced an uphill battle to get anyone to come forward and flip on Trump. Given the lack of progress, it certainly appears as if Bragg is quietly shutting down the investigation. That seems all the more likely given the news of Dunne and Pomerantz's resignation. It represents a small victory for Trump, but far from the relief he wanted. As Bragg's case peters out, James' investigation is gathering steam. In late January, a judge also approved a request to convene a grand jury to hear evidence of Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. There's also a criminal investigation in Westchester County, over Trump's financial dealings at the Trump National Golf Club.
'DA just pulled a Kyrsten Sinema'
Social media though wasn't so convinced. "The Manhattan DA has doubts about the case. I have doubts about the Manhattan DA," one person tweeted. A second person said, "I am trying to wrap my head around the NY AG Tish James’s civil case demanding Donald, Ivanka and Junior testify while at the same time Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg won’t prosecute Trump for the same tax and insurance fraud crimes. What’s the deal???" One user joked, "The Manhattan DA just pulled a Kyrsten Sinema."
The Manhattan DA has doubts about the case.— John Collins (@Logically_JC) February 23, 2022
I have doubts about the Manhattan DA.
I am trying to wrap my head around the NY AG Tish James’s civil case demanding Donald, Ivanka and Junior testify while at the same time Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg won’t prosecute Trump for the same tax and insurance fraud crimes. What’s the deal???— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) February 23, 2022
The Manhattan DA just pulled a Kyrsten Sinema.— Jack Cocchiarella (@JDCocchiarella) February 23, 2022
"Donald Trump could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and the Manhattan DA would do exactly jack shit, apparently," one person said. Another commented, "Attorneys don't suddenly resign because they don't have evidence to bring charges in a case. There is something fishy going on with the Manhattan DA." One person said, "Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg, is proving his detractors correct. He’s willing to let criminals get off scot free."
Donald Trump could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and the Manhattan DA would do exactly jack shit, apparently— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) February 23, 2022
Attorneys don't suddenly resign because they don't have evidence to bring charges in a case.— Brad Beauregard Jr 🇺🇸 (@BradBeauregardJ) February 23, 2022
There is something fishy going on with the Manhattan DA.
Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg, is proving his detractors correct.— Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn) February 23, 2022
He’s willing to let criminals get off scot free.