Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg criticized the House Judiciary Committee over its plans to hold a hearing in Manhattan concerning Bragg’s “pro-crime” policies, calling it a “political stunt.”
In January 2022, a week as district attorney, Bragg said his office would stop prosecuting crimes including prostitution, resisting arrest, fare evasion, and traffic offenses. He advised that bail should not be sought except in “special cases,” adding that his office would recommend a maximum of 20-year prison sentences.
The New York Post reported that since Jan. 1, 2022, Bragg downgraded 52% of felony cases to misdemeanors.
Bragg indicted former President Donald Trump over “hush money” payments the former president allegedly made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election.
Trump faced arraignment in a Manhattan courthouse where he pled not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records relating to “hush money” payments.
The charges against Trump would classify as a misdemeanor in New York but can be upgraded to a felony if there is intent in hiding or committing another crime. Bragg “upgraded” Trump’s charges to felonies, saying that the former president’s crime violated New York campaign finance laws.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), a member of the Judiciary Committee, argued that if Bragg can spend resources on indicting Trump, he can address the soaring crime in New York.
Bragg’s office, in response, said New York is the “safest big city in America” and called the committee’s potential Manhattan hearing a “political stunt.”
Bragg responds to the "political stunt" field hearing announced today by Rep. Jim Jordan.
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) April 10, 2023
Contrary to Bragg’s office, crimes rose 22% in New York in 2022, although shootings and murders decreased.
According to the New York Times, the Judiciary Committee’s hearing will be held in Lower Manhattan, close to where Trump’s arraignment occurred. The title of the hearing clearly says what it’s about: “Victims of Violent Crime in Manhattan.”
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) criticized the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), saying that “New Yorkers don’t need to take public safety advice from Jim Jordan, whose ‘tough on crime’ solution is to defund the DOJ and FBI.”
Bragg’s spokeswoman compared Manhattan’s murder rate to Columbus, Ohio’s, close to the district Jordan represents. Columbus, however, only had 140 homicides in 2022m while New York City had 433.
“If Chairman Jordan truly cared about public safety, he could take a short drive to Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Akron, or Toledo in his home state,” she said.
Bragg’s prosecution of Trump is political. To call the House GOP’s potential Manhattan hearing a “political stunt” is ironic. Bragg could have indicted Trump after he left the presidency but chose to wait after Trump announced his candidacy for president in 2024. Trump’s next hearing will be on Dec. 4, 2023, a month before the GOP presidential primaries begin.