Manhattan DA candidates could face tough questions about past dealings with Trump as grand jury probe heats up
Donald Trump (AFP)

Two candidates vying to become the next Manhattan district attorney will likely face questions about their past dealings with former president Donald Trump.

Whoever ultimately wins the race will take over the investigation into Trump's family business, and two of the leading Democratic candidates -- Alvin Bragg and Tali Farhadian Weinstein -- will likely face attacks from the twice-impeached one-term president similar to those faced by special counsel Robert Mueller, reported the New York Times.

"No matter who gets elected, he's going to do opposition research, and assuming an indictment's brought or anything close to that, he's going to do what he did with the special counsel," said Andrew Weissmann, who served as a senior prosecutor on Mueller's investigation.

Bragg has frequently reminded voters that he sued the Trump administration "more than a hundred times" while working in the New York attorney general's office, while Farhadian Weinstein has not been quite as vocal about her own past dealings with the ex-president.

Farhadian Weinstein has occasionally pointed to her involvement in a successful lawsuit against the administration while serving as general counsel to the Brooklyn district attorney, but she has not spoken publicly about interviewing with Trump administration officials for a federal judgeship.

A new grand jury has been impaneled by current district attorney Cy Vance focused on possible financial crimes involving the Trump Organization, although it's not clear how far along that investigation has gone.

Trump's advisers have said the former president will try to challenge the investigation as a partisan attack by politicized prosecutors, an attack that could land against Bragg -- who was involved in the lawsuit that ultimately led to the dissolution of the scandal-plagued Trump Foundation.

"It is a fact that I have sued Trump more than a hundred times," Bragg told the Times, anticipating those attacks. "I can't change that fact, nor would I. That was important work. That's separate from anything that the D.A.'s office may be looking at now."

Farhadian Weinstein was suggested as a candidate in 2017 for a district court judgeship to Avi Berkowitz, then a special assistant to Jared Kushner, by her friend Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law School professor who later testified against Trump at his first impeachment hearing.

"I have repeatedly declined requests to discuss a hypothetical argument that a current subject of an investigation in the Manhattan D.A.'s office might make — that's the only proper approach for open matters the next D.A. will inherit," she told the Times in an email statement.