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DA Bragg Makes Legal Move That Stokes Republican Outrage

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Republicans are once again shaking their heads in disgust and complaining about double standards following Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s latest legal move.

The DA, who convicted former President Donald Trump on 34 felonies that legal experts on the left and right have said were bogus, has opted not to prosecute dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters who barricaded themselves inside a building at Columbia University in April, Newsweek reported on Thursday.

It’s not that the protesters were going to face harsh punishment in the first place; Bragg charged some 46 of them with misdemeanor trespass in the third degree after they were arrested during an April 30 police raid on Hamilton Hall. But now, even those charges are disappearing.

According to Reuters, Stephen Millan, a prosecutor in Bragg’s office, made it clear in a New York court on Thursday that 32 of the protesters, including 30 students and two Columbia staff members, would not face charges because there was insufficient evidence to identify the suspects.

“Charges against another 13 defendants remained active after they refused to accept a deal that would have seen the charges dropped if they were not arrested for any other reason during a period of six months,” the outlet reported. “Criminal mischief and arson charges also remain against one suspect who is not affiliated with Columbia.”

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In an email to Newsweek, Doug Cohen, a spokesperson for Bragg’s office, said the DA was “continuing to pursue cases” stemming from Columbia and City College of New York protests, “including all assaults against police officers.” He also said that “there are ongoing school disciplinary proceedings for the students who had their case dismissed.”

It goes without saying that the double standard infuriated the former president’s supporters, who expressed their outrage on social media.

“Lunatic D.A. Alvin Bragg drops all charges against the vile, anti-Semitic protesters who illegally seized the building at Columbia University,” talk radio host Mark Simone wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “The Anti-Semocrats who run New York will always continue to encourage this kind of bigotry and hatred.”

“Trump – filed the wrong sex paperwork / 34 felonies!” conservative writer Scott Jennings posted. “Vandals and terrorist sympathizers – meh, go about your business.”

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“It was Alvin Bragg’s office that dropped the charges against the criminals who took over Hamilton Hall btw,” wrote @AGHamilton29. “Impossible to ignore the fact that his office pursues political vendettas while giving actual criminals a pass.”

“Fat Alvin Bragg has dropped trespassing charges against nearly all Columbia University protesters,” @PamelaHensley22 wrote. “Bragg doesn’t prosecute criminals. He only prosecutes his political opponents.”

“Alvin Bragg,@ManhattanDA, drops charges against 31 of 46 anarchists arrested for barricading themselves in Hamilton Hall @Columbia,” lawyer Gerard Filitti wrote. “For lack of evidence. That they were trespassing. In a building they barricaded themselves in.”

“Well, he IS a @Harvard_Law grad,” he added. “Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Birds of a feather and all that. It’s time for @TheJusticeDept to step in and protect our civil rights.”

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“Terrible result. I wrote about what these people believe and what they’re trying to do,” conservative academic Steven McGuire posted while noting further that “the student intifada” is “full of radical revolutionaries who want to destroy Israel” while also sharing an op-ed that he wrote.

Though most reactions on social media were from Trump supporters or other conservatives, touching on the political implications of the non-prosecutions, some Jewish activists suggested that it would encourage more demonstrations similar to the Columbia protest.

For example, Michael Nussbaum of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York trashed the decision as “turnstile justice.” He told the New York Post that it amounted to “a green light for chaos” and “a green light for destroying property.”

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