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Prosecutors Investigating Trump Resign

Emily Schutz: Mark Pomerantz and Cory Dunn, the two lead prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump and his business practices have resigned. This came after a month-long pause in the proceedings and after District Attorney Alvin Bragg expressed doubts about the case. John C. Coffee is a law professor and expert in white-collar crime at Columbia University. I asked him why would two lead prosecutors step down from such a high-profile case.

John C. Coffee: Well, I think they felt that they'd been undercut. They didn't say that they kept the stiff upper lip and said very little, but these are not normal. District Attorney prosecutors, Mark Pomerantz who once was a professor at Columbia Law School. I'm just saying we're dealing with someone who's very high stature and wanted to something as a career-ending achievement, namely the prosecution of Donald Trump. That was a chance to make history. I think he has found out that he doesn't have the support of the current district attorney. Why is that? That's the big mystery. Absent Pomerance and Cory Dunn, I don't think the criminal prosecution will go forward. And the fact that we don't have them, maybe because the district attorney told them, they didn't want the criminal prosecution to go forward. And that truly is the $64 question.

Schutz: So the month-long pause in the proceedings, was that because of you know, Alvin Braggs doubts about the case, or was that due to Omicron?

Coffee: I suspect that the delay for the last month was caused by back and forth negotiations, demands, and counter demands attempts to reach a compromise, which did not work. And there's no reason for these guys to stay in that office. Mark Pomerance was a Paul Weiss partner before we came over to the US to the district attorney's office, with probably making five million a year or something like that, that's the average salary and Paul Weiss for a partner. And I see no reason to say they're in a tiny job with low pay when you can go back to where he was and where he is really sending a quiet signal. I can't continue with this. I can't cooperate with this. I think he isn’t going to criticize, but he's going to say we didn't get the support we need.

Schutz: So kind of going off of that Alvin Bragg was only recently appointed to the DA so what would closing this investigation look like for his career? Because I've heard that there could be some backlash to that.

Coffee: Well, there's been a good deal of backlash about several those decisions. Why he would be opposed to prosecution of Donald Trump. I do think that Manhattan is probably the area in the country. And Hatton or Berkeley, California, where you have the highest chance of convicting Donald Trump, because the jury is going to be distinctly unsympathetic to him. So I think it's a winnable case. There may be some other reason. It may be as making demands on the logistical resources of reservists. But this is a prosecution that's worth some demands. It's probably worth more than a couple of small drug dealer cases. So we don't know what his motivation is. But he has had different motivations than the ordinary prosecutor. People can disagree about whether this was a strong prosecution, or relatively stay in case. This was not catchy John Dillinger coming out of the bank with machine guns blazing. It was a fairly technical case. It probably was normally handled civilly. It could be the district attorney thought this was overcharging. But I don't think any New York politician who's elected is going to want to say I don't want to overcharge Donald Trump. That is not the public feeling right now, at least in New York.

Schutz: Is a lawsuit from New York's Attorney General more likely?

Coffee: In already exists, she has brought a suit against the Trump Organization. And it's basically a tax fraud kind of lawsuit. But it is still she did not use the criminal option. And I think she would find it difficult to suddenly switch gears and move from a civil case to a criminal case. I have to say Mark Pomerantz is greatly respected in this profession. He's made a quiet and dignified exit because he wasn't getting the support he wanted or needed. Or he was being told bluntly that the district attorney would not permit the criminal prosecution, and that is the district attorney's legal responsibility.

Schutz: That was John C. Coffey, a law professor and expert in white-collar crime at Columbia University.

Emily Schutz, Uptown Radio News

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