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After Trump indictment, Manhattan DA warns GOP allies against ‘baseless and inflammatory’ attacks

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg arrives at his office, Friday, March 24, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

The day after his historic indictment of Donald Trump, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg warned the former president’s House Republican allies to refrain from “unlawful political interference” with the criminal process.

“Yesterday, the District Attorney of New York County filed charges against Donald Trump for violations of New York law,” the DA’s office General Counsel Leslie Dubeck wrote in a 6-page letter, adding in a footnote that Trump is presumed innocent of those charges until a jury finds otherwise. “The charges filed yesterday were brought by citizens of New York, doing their civic duty as members of a grand jury, who found probable cause to accuse Mr. Trump of having committed crimes in New York.”

The Bragg’s office noted that Trump will be afforded all the rights and protections under the law and Constitution.

“What neither Mr. Trump nor Congress may do is interfere with the ordinary course of proceedings in New York State,” the letter continues.

The letter is in response to continued demands from three GOP-controlled House committees led by Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Bryan Steil, R-Wisc., and James Comer, R-Tenn., seeking information about Bragg’s grand jury investigation. Bragg rebuffed those requests before, telling the Trump allies that neither New York State law nor the U.S. Constitution entitles them to what they requested.

Bragg’s office urged the federal lawmakers to use their offices responsibly, noting that the former president has not.

“Finally, as you are no doubt aware, former President Trump has directed harsh invective against District Attorney Bragg and threatened on social media that his arrest or indictment in New York may unleash ‘death & destruction,'” the letter states.

Trump also urged his followers, in all capital letters, to “PROTEST” and “TAKE OUR NATION BACK,” in a message on his Truth Social platform. His supporters largely balked at the invitation, with only small groups assembling outside the criminal courthouse at 100 Center St. in lower Manhattan, where the press outnumbered demonstrators.

“As Committee Chairmen, you could use the stature of your office to denounce these attacks and urge respect for the fairness of our justice system and for the work of the impartial grand jury,” the letter states. “Instead, you and many of your colleagues have chosen to collaborate with Mr. Trump’s efforts to vilify and denigrate the integrity of elected state prosecutors and trial judges and made unfounded allegations that the Office’s investigation, conducted via an independent grand jury of average citizens serving New York State, is politically motivated.”

In the wake of those attacks, lower Manhattan courts have experienced bomb threats, and Bragg’s office received a letter with “white powder,” along with a message threatening to kill the Democratic DA.

Bragg told the congressman to end their “baseless and inflammatory allegations” of political motivations and come to the bargaining table to see if the DA’s office can provide documents or information that wouldn’t be confidential under New York law.

“We trust you will make a good-faith effort to reach a negotiated resolution before taking the unprecedented and unconstitutional step of serving a subpoena on a district attorney for information related to an ongoing state criminal prosecution.”

Read the letter here.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."