OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who filed charges earlier this year against former President Donald Trump regarding a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, has admitted he fears the rising level of crime in the Big Apple.
That is especially true of crime on the city’s subways, where violence has been rising for years amid some efforts to crack down.
“I know from the statistics that transit crime is down. But when one of my family members gets on the train, I get a knot in my stomach. I live here; I’m raising my family here, so we have a lot more work to do,” Bragg said. “We do a number of long-term investigations involving wiretaps. We do targeted enforcement, so we are seeing the returns on that investigative work, and we’re going to do that kind of work.”
The DA’s personal admission — which comes as he has been widely criticized for being soft on crime — feeds the public’s perception of rising crime in the city.
The New York Post’s editorial board recently torched Bragg and his “woke policies” in a story titled, “Alvin Bragg’s agenda is STILL irrelevant to city’s real needs.”
With shoplifting and violent crime still far too high across the city, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg last week pushed for . . . more hate-crime laws. Huh? He barely prosecutes felonies already on the books. Yet Bragg joined with state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblywoman Grace Lee (both D-Manhattan) to ask the Legislature to add 30-plus crimes (such as forcible touching, graffiti and sexual assault) to the list of 66 charges eligible for hate-crime status.
Showing a motive for a crime is a regular part of prosecution, but adding thought-crime penalties on top of the sentence is an invitation to mind-reading that doesn’t belong in the lawbooks. The law should focus on anti-social actions — but doing that is evidently something Bragg . . . hates. At least, he doesn’t like sending anyone to jail or prison for much of anything.
Starting with his disgraceful “Day 1” memo to his office, Bragg has emphasized a “decarceral” agenda that treats prosecution as a major threat to society. Along with state criminal-justice “reforms” pushing the same misbegotten approach, that’s produced a steep rise in shootings and other violent crimes — as well as record shoplifting that’s forced many retailers to close and left the rest locking up most of their shelves, even the toothpaste.
The DA’s lowlights include a sweet-heart plea deal last December for a gangbanger with a history of robbing high-end Madison Avenue boutiques (Bragg said his office had too much on its plate), the aborted murder charge against bodega worker Jose Alba in a clear case of self-defense as well as charging Marine Corps vet Daniel Penny with manslaughter in the death of Jordan Neely, a mentally unhinged vagrant threatening other straphangers.
Last week, Manhattan prosecutors asked a judge to turn down Trump’s request to drop criminal charges related to a hush money payment. They said the former president was trying to avoid responsibility by abusing his political power.
When prosecutors looked into the hush money case this year, they said they got new information from “campaign insiders” that backs up their claim that Trump paid adult film star Stormy Daniels hush money and then covered it up.
For many reasons, Trump asked for the indictment to be thrown out last month. One of them was that it was brought six years after the alleged cover-up in an attempt to mess with the 2024 presidential election.
The office of the New York district attorney asked Judge Juan Merchan to ignore the argument and follow the law equally.
In March, Trump was charged with changing business records to commit or hide another crime.
Prosecutors say this was part of a plan to hide payments that Trump made to Michael Cohen to reimburse him for paying Stormy Daniels hush money to keep her from talking about an affair she had with Trump before the 2016 election. Trump has said he is not guilty of the 34 charges and denied having an affair.