Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has traveled a long and winding road to reach his indictment of former President Donald Trump on charges related to hush money payments to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.
Little more than a year ago, Bragg was receiving sharp criticism from Trump foes after two top prosecutors in his office — Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne — resigned in protest over his unwillingness to charge Trump at that time. There were calls for state or federal authorities to intercede.
These Trump detractors believed that the 45th president had once again escaped accountability for his alleged misdeeds, and they were especially galled that it was happening on the watch of a Democratic prosecutor. Bragg, feeling the pressure, had this to say:
“While the law constrains me from commenting further at this time, I pledge that the office will publicly state the conclusion of our investigation — whether we conclude our work without bringing charges, or move forward with an indictment,” New York Magazine reported.
Little fanfare greeted Bragg's statement. But it would turn out to survive the test of time.
In contrast, the barrage of criticisms aimed at Bragg haven’t aged so well. And neither has Republican gloating and predictions about Trump emerging from the investigation unscathed.
Here are our top 10 examples:
10) “Alvin Bragg has abdicated his duty and/or lacks the courage to do his job.” — Bakari Sellers, pundit and former South Carolina state legislator.
9) "The more I read about the NY AG civil fraud case against Trump, the more I wonder how Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg could possibly have rejected indicting him for criminal fraud." — Tristan Snell, an attorney formerly in the New York AG’s office who prosecuted the Trump University case.
8) “Bragg’s actions undercut the credibility of his words and represent a third strike, this time for a lack of candor. Just how gullible does Bragg think New Yorkers are? — MSNBC columnist Glenn Kirschner, reacting to the news that Bragg was disbanding the first grand jury in March, 2022.
7) “It is a great tribute to the system that Alvin Bragg came in and stopped the unfairness against Trump. Bragg and his team did the legally and morally correct thing, and they didn’t go the typical political route." — Fox News, quoting an anonymous source “close to the investigation” in a 2022 article reporting it was over.
6) “No. I spent countless hours, over 15 sessions — including three while incarcerated. I provided thousands of documents, which coupled with my testimony, would have been a valid basis for an indictment and charge. The fact that they have not done so despite all of this … I’m not interested in any further investment of my time,” Michael Cohen, asked in March 2022 by The Daily Beast about cooperating with Bragg if no indictment was coming at that time.
5) “My guess is that there are political forces — political people at the national level on the Democratic side — who have urged restraint on Bragg because they realize what a mistake and debacle it would be to indict the former president for this conduct.” — Sol Wisenberg, deputy independent counsel to Kenneth Starr during the Clinton investigation — two days before Trump was indicted.
4) “Left-wing prosecutor Alvin Bragg in New York, it kind of looks like he can’t, he cannot indict a ham sandwich. It looks like Trump will not be indicted.” — Former Trump adviser and Fox Business News host Larry Kudlow — less than one hour before the indictment was announced.
3) “Alvin Bragg is sweating even more than usual tonight. Now, his pathetically weak case against former President Trump has totally imploded. Let's be very clear here. The case died this very week. It is very obvious. It is very clear. It's transparent.” — Sean Hannity on Fox News, speaking on March 23.
2) “I and others believe that your decision not to authorize prosecution now will doom any future prospects that Mr. Trump will be prosecuted for the criminal conduct we have been investigating.” — Pomerantz, in resignation letter to Bragg published March 23, 2022, in the New York Times.
1) “There was no crime, period.” — Donald J. Trump, on March 19, via Truth Social.