An investigation of former President Donald Trump and his alleged hush money payment to a porn star is led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Harlem, New York, native who previously served as the state’s chief deputy attorney general, and has been attached to a series of high-profile cases.
Bragg was elected as the Manhattan district attorney over opponent Tali Farhadian Weinstein in 2021 and became the first Black person—and only the fourth person in the last 80 years—to hold the position.
Prior to serving as district attorney, Bragg graduated from Harvard Law School and served as a member of the New York Urban League’s board of directors and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, two civil rights organizations, according to his website.
Following graduation, Bragg clerked for federal District Judge Robert Patterson before working as a civil rights lawyer for the firm Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello.
Bragg then served under New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer before being named the chief of litigation and investigations for the New York City Council.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman appointed Bragg as chief deputy attorney general in 2017, as Bragg oversaw lawsuits against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company, among others.
Bragg previously announced the indictment of former Trump advisor and ally Steve Bannon and WeBuildTheWall—a nonprofit organization that promoted building a wall across the U.S.-Mexico Border—in 2018, and tax fraud charges against the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg earlier this year.
Bragg also worked as a visiting law professor and as the co-director of the Racial Justice Project at New York Law School.
Bragg represented the mother of Eric Garner—a 43-year-old Black man who was killed by police in 2014—in a case against the New York Police Department, in an attempt to have the NYPD disclose more information about Garner’s death.
After having been “repeatedly asked” whether an investigation into Trump and the Trump Organization was still ongoing last year, Bragg answered: “It is.” Bragg noted that prosecutors “are going through documents, interviewing witnesses and exploring evidence not previously explored.”
Bragg—who said a police officer put a gun to his head when he was 15—has campaigned for more initiatives promoting accountability among law enforcement agencies. Bragg said his encounters with police are why he decided to attend law school and become a civil rights attorney. He has created new units at his office, including a Special Victims Division that focuses on sex crimes, human trafficking and domestic violence. He also expanded the office’s Hate Crimes Unit with additional prosecutors, investigators and analysts, in an effort to promote community outreach and “build community trust.”
Prior to Bragg being named Manhattan District Attorney, the previous three attorneys to hold the office served for an average of 25 years. Frank Hogan held the position between January 1942 and August 1973, Robert Morgenthau served between January 1975 and December 2009 and Cyrus Vance Jr., Bragg’s predecessor, served between January 2010 and December 2021. Vance was criticized for having not been more successful in his pursuit of Trump, his associates and the organizations tied to him. Vance subsequently announced he would not seek reelection, leaving the possibility of an investigation into Trump to his successor. After being elected in 2021, Bragg said he would personally focus on a probe into the former president’s business practices.
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