OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Republicans expanded their list of witnesses for a Monday hearing by the House Judiciary Committee that plans to investigate the impact of soft-on-crime policies by district attorneys, including Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, on New Yorkers.
In what will be a brutal blow to Bragg, a Democratic New York City councilman plans to testify that Bragg has contributed to the “lawlessness” across the city.
Councilman Robert Holden, who has served as the representative for the 30th district since 2018, identified himself as a Democrat and a lifelong resident of New York. Holden admitted to having “issues” with Bragg since his appointment as DA in 2022. According to Holden, the crime rate in New York City has increased “because of Bragg.”
“When Bragg came in, he issued that ridiculous edict that he was not going to prosecute smaller crimes,” Holden said. “What do we have in New York City? We have lawlessness on the streets. I have never seen the lawlessness we are seeing now.”
“Under his policy, petty theft, even resisting arrest, prostitution, public urination will not be prosecuted,” Holden said. “This is a DA saying to that to the public. It is just stupid. It’s just dumb. We have a bad combination in New York. There were 17 straight years of downward crime in New York City until that 2019 bail reform law.”
Because of those changes, members of the NYPD “don’t want to engage” with suspects.
“Even if they do engage, they’re going to get district attorneys like Bragg who are going to say, ‘We’re not prosecuting,’” he said. “I credit Rudy Giuliani as the mayor who saved New York. I lived through that. They don’t like to hear it. But I lived through it.”
Bragg has come under heavy fire in recent weeks since former President Donald Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury.
The Manhattan grand jury indicted Trump on 34 criminal charges of falsifying business records related to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump sent a payment to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, allegedly to keep Daniels quiet about an affair the two of them had in 2006. Trump pleaded not guilty to all 34 charges.
However, Bragg’s case against Trump is so weak that several liberal outlets are even pointing it out.
Ian Millhiser, a senior correspondent at Vox, wrote: “There is something painfully anticlimactic about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of former President Trump. It concerns not Trump’s efforts to overthrow the duly elected government of the United States, but his alleged effort to cover up a possible extramarital affair with a porn star. And there’s a real risk that this indictment will end in an even bigger anticlimax. It is unclear that the felony statute that Trump is accused of violating actually applies to him.”
Mark Stern, a writer for the liberal outlet Slate, published a story titled, “The Trump Indictment Is Not the Slam-Dunk Case Democrats Wanted.”
John Bolton — who served as a national security adviser in the Trump administration and has since come out against Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign — appeared on CNN and blasted the charges filed against his ex-boss, former President Trump, saying the indictment was “even weaker than I feared it would be.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said in an interview with Fox News that the case is “outrageous.”
“[Bragg] is attempting to bootstrap [a] federal crime into a state case. And if that is the basis for the indictment, I think it’s rather outrageous,” the professor said.
“I think it’s illegally pathetic,” he said. “There’s a good reason why the Department of Justice did not prosecute this case: Because it’s been down this road before. It tried a case against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards arguing that hush money paid to another woman, who bore a child out of that relationship, was a campaign violation. That was a much stronger case, but they lost,” Turley said, referring to federal prosecutors not charging Trump following Cohen’s guilty plea.
“Even if you can bootstrap that dead misdemeanor to something alive, you’re essentially arguing a federal case that the Department of Justice declined. But it’s also a case that requires you to show, if that is the basis of this indictment, that Trump’s only, his sole motive for paying this money or having third parties pay it was for the election,” he said.