Pomerantz tells Maddow why the RICO case against Trump was 'too big' for the DA
Speaking to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, former special assistant to the Manhattan District Attorney, Mark Pomerantz, said that they could have gone after Donald Trump for a RICO case, but the department didn't have enough resources.
"We were looking at instance after instance of suspected illegal conduct. Of course, they had to be provable. But if they were proven, their collective weight left no doubt in my mind that Trump deserved to be prosecuted. Measures short of criminal prosecution had been used against trump, and he had dismissed them as trivial," Pomerantz's new book, People vs. Donald Trump.
"Looking at the totality of Trump's conduct over the years, I thought it was crystal clear that measures short of criminal prosecution meant nothing to him and would not deter him in the slightest from engaging in other anti-social behavior," the book continues.
"Indeed, the more successful he became, the more brazen was his behavior, he'd stiffed many contractors and small business owners who decided to advance services or products to the Trump Organization because, after all, Donald Trump was so wealthy."
The book goes on to say that Michael Cohen told the DA's office that part of his job was breaking it to creditors that they weren't getting paid and forcing them to take whatever small amount they could get out of Trump.
"The Enterprise Corruption Statute targeted just this kind of behavior using a pattern of criminal activity to increase an entity's economic power enabling it to inflict greater social harm," the book explains.
Those are the racketeering charges Pomerantz previously said would be possible under Trump. The problem, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow added, is that the DA's office couldn't handle a case that big.
"One of the things that people need to remember is that the district attorney for New York County is a local prosecutor's office," he explained. "This is not the kind of special counsel operation housed in the Department of Justice, which hires and has a staff of dozens of lawyers and investigators working on a single mission. We had a small staff of lawyers, many of them with other responsibilities. We had to work within the jurisdictional and procedural limitations imposed by New York law, which are substantial."
Pomerantz then told Maddow that the DOJ can go to whatever state they want to and subpoena anyone. If New York wants to subpoena someone in Ohio, for example, they have to "go through an elaborate legal procedure involving the Ohio authorities to see if that person can be compelled to speak to us."
So, there were additional barriers to the case that wouldn't necessarily be something the feds would face were they to conduct their own investigation through the Southern District of New York.
"It became clear over time that an enterprise corruption case was simply biting off more than we could chew," he confessed.
He said that they asked then-DA Cy Vance for more people and resources, but felt it wasn't fair to the incoming DA to start hiring a lot of senior people to go after a huge RICO case of a former president.
"Bear in mind that we were trying to work quickly and bringing a racketeering case, particularly one that incorporates other stuff, Trump Foundation, Trump University, the hush money, the financial statements, it's such a big ball of wax that ultimately we decided, you know what, let's focus on a smaller more contained set of charges. And that's when we started to focus on the financial statements," he said.
See the discussion with Maddow below or at this link.
Pomerantz 2 www.youtube.com