(NEW YORK) — The unprecedented indictment of former President Donald Trump in New York has thrust the top prosecutor in Manhattan into the spotlight.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr., a Harvard grad and New York native, picked up the investigation into Trump that never got off the ground during his predecessor’s tenure.
Bragg has had a storied career in the New York courts and have been involved in various high-profile cases.
Here’s what to know about him:
Bragg, 49, grew up in Harlem and received his law degree from Harvard. He began his career as a clerk for the Hon. Robert P. Patterson Jr. in the Southern District of New York and then joined a private law firm, according to his campaign bio.
In 2003, he joined the New York State Attorney General’s office, working under then AG Elliot Spitzer on numerous cases from white-collar crimes to investigations into drug cartels, his campaign bio said.
From 2006 to 2009 Bragg served as the New York City Council’s chief of litigations and investigations before moving to the Southern District of New York as an assistant U.S. attorney. In 2017, then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman appointed Bragg as the Deputy Attorney General of New York.
It was in this role that Bragg first went up against Trump in a legal setting, when he led the office’s prosecution against the Trump Foundation for “extensive unlawful political conduct” with the charity’s money and using it for personal matters. The foundation was dissolved and Trump was forced to pay $2 million as part of a settlement.
Bragg would leave the New York Attorney General’s office in December 2018 to serve as a visiting professor at New York Law School, but six months later he announced his candidacy to run for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in 2021.
During the campaign, Bragg spoke openly about the DA’s investigations into Trump and cited his experience in the AG’s office as a qualification. He won the election and assumed office in January 2022, becoming the first Black Manhattan DA.
Less than two months into his term, Bragg was put on the hot seat involving an ongoing investigation into Trump and his real estate business.
Two assistant district attorneys who worked on the case, Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz, resigned. Pomerantz released a book in January, about the investigation and his resignation and accused Bragg of making a mistake by failing to bring a criminal case against former President Trump at the onset of his tenure.
Bragg told reporters a week after the book was released that Pomerantz’s case was not ready.
“I bring hard cases when they are ready,” he said.
Bragg’s office empaneled a grand jury and had been investigating Trump’s role in the alleged hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
He secured an indictment Thursday, although the details of the case are under seal. Trump and his legal team have decried the prosecution.
“President Trump has been indicted. He did not commit any crime. We will vigorously fight this this political prosecution in Court,” his legal team said in a statement.
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