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Trump must have been charged with crimes, former NY prosecutor says

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Former President Donald Trump

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

A former special Recent York prosecutor who quit a criminal investigation of ex-President Donald Trump after his boss declined to lodge charges on the time said that if Trump “had been Joe Blow from Kokomo, we might have indicted with out a big debate.”

“I feel that Donald Trump, actually, was guilty and, second, that there was sufficient evidence as a matter of law to have sustained a guilty verdict if we went forward,” said Mark Pomerantz, the previous special prosecutor within the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, in a recent interview.

“My view is that it’s toxic to have people consider that the criminal justice system is unable to carry people accountable if those people have huge financial and political influence,” Pomerantz said.

“The rule of law is speculated to extend to the wealthy and poor alike, to the vulnerable, to the powerful,” he added.

Pomerantz made the comments on the podcast, “Why Wasn’t Donald Trump Criminally Prosecuted in Recent York? What Happened and Why?” hosted by Columbia University Law School Professor John Coffee Jr.

Manhattan Federal District Court Judge Jed Rakoff participated within the interview.

The interview, released Thursday, was Pomerantz’s first since he and Carey Dunne, a second prosecutor with whom he had been spearheading the criminal probe of Trump, resigned from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in February over the choice by DA Alvin Bragg Jr. not to hunt a grand jury indictment of Trump for the moment.

“You already know, I believed very deeply within the notion that it is a government of laws and never men, and meaning the rule of law is for everyone,” Pomerantz said.

“And I used to be utterly convinced that if the defendant had not been Donald Trump or the putative defendant, if it had been Joe Blow from Kokomo, we might have indicted with out a big debate,” he said.

“You do not give fabricated financial statements to banks to get loans without running the chance that you’ll get charged with a criminal offense,” Pomerantz added.

The DA’s office was known to be investigating Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, for possible crimes related to the suspected practice of reporting different valuations for a similar real estate assets, depending on the circumstances, so as to maximize financial advantages in the shape of tax breaks, insurance premium reductions and the worth of loans.

Recent York state Attorney General Letitia James’s office is conducting a civil investigation of the Trump Organization for a similar issues.

“We anticipated the power to elicit testimony that those loans wouldn’t have been made, aside from the incontrovertible fact that Donald Trump gave the banks personal financial statements and attested to their accuracy,” Pomerantz said within the interview.

Trump and his lawyers have denied he and the corporate committed wrongdoing.

Trump’s attorney, Ronald Fischetti, didn’t immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment. But Fischetti previously has told CNBC that he was “surprised” and “disillusioned” by similar comments which have turn out to be public from Pomerantz, a former law partner of his.

Bragg’s office, which didn’t immediately return a request for comment, has said that the probe is ongoing.

The investigation of Trump began under then-DA Cyrus Vance Jr.

Vance in January 2021 enlisted Pomerantz, who on the time was retired from private legal practice, to work on the probe. Pomerantz is the previous chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Recent York, the federal prosecutor’s office in Manhattan.

“I assumed to myself, ‘What may very well be more dramatic, more exciting, more complicated than the investigation of a former president, any individual who had tens of millions of supporters and likewise tens of millions of people that hated this guts?’ ” Pomerantz said within the podcast interview.

“I also thought the investigation could use some focus and perhaps I could make a difference. So I agreed to become involved after which went to work,” he said.

CNBC Politics

Read more of CNBC’s politics coverage:

Last 12 months, Vance’s office obtained a 15-count indictment against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, on charges related to an alleged scheme to illegally avoid taxes on compensation to the CFO and other executives of the corporate since 2005. That criminal case is pending and the defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Bragg in January succeeded Vance, who had declined to run for reelection in 2021.

Greater than a month later, Pomerantz and Dunne resigned after Bragg paused their probe, advising them that he had doubts about indicting Trump.

“We weren’t told the case can be closed,” Pomerantz said on the podcast. “We were told the investigation would proceed. And what we were told explicitly is that an indictment wouldn’t be authorized on the present state of the record.

“Now, inevitably, that results in the query, well, what is going on to vary? Was there an inexpensive likelihood that things would change?” Pomerantz said. “And there wasn’t an inexpensive expectation that the facts were going to vary in any big way within the foreseeable future.

“I assumed the case must have gone forward, and I didn’t need to be passively staying as a part of an effort that I didn’t understand or consider would result in a distinct lead to the longer term,” he said.

Pomerantz wrote Bragg a scathing resignation letter, which became public in March.

In it, the lawyer said that he and his team had little question that Trump “committed crimes,” and that he feared Bragg’s decision to not prosecute on the time “implies that Mr. Trump is not going to be held fully accountable for his crimes.”

“Persons are charged with that crime, I enterprise to say, day by day of each week somewhere in the US,” Pomerantz said within the podcast interview, referring to the usage of fabricated financial statements.

“I assumed it was essential to charge the case to vindicate the rule of law,” he said. “People can quantify the chance of loss otherwise. You already know, could we’ve got lost the case? After all, we could have lost the case. But I feel very deeply that sometimes it’s higher to bring a case and risk losing it than to not bring the case in any respect.”

Pomerantz said he was “very disheartened” after he resigned to see allegations that Bragg “will need to have been corrupt” to determine not to hunt charges against Trump.

“That is ridiculous. There was utterly nothing to suggest any type of corruption here. It was an honest decision — a choice I deeply disagreed with,” Pomerantz said.

“However the incontrovertible fact that you’ve people questioning the integrity of the district attorney for having made the choice he made is a mirrored image of the incontrovertible fact that it’s a choice that, in my opinion, caused people to lose some confidence within the broad applicability of the rule of law.”

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