Who is Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan DA who charged Donald Trump?

“He’s calling for the weaponization of the criminal justice system against Bragg while claiming that the criminal justice system is being weaponized against him. Make it make sense,” said Sue Ann Robinson, an attorney at Ben Crump Law, told theGrio.

Former President Donald Trump turned himself into the Manhattan criminal courthouse on Tuesday, just days after District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his legal team persuaded a grand jury to file charges against him. 

Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a Manhattan, as reported by Reuters. This comes after Bragg led an investigation into several illegal actions, including hush money in the amount of $130,000 paid to adult film star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, in 2016.

The DA found that Trump tried to stop Daniels from talking about a sexual encounter the two had in 2006, which Trump has publicly denied.

Left to right: Former President Donald Trump and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. (Photo: Getty Images)

In an effort to divert attention from himself, Trump has thrusted the New York City district attorney into the spotlight after calling him a “Soros-backed animal” and making demands for Bragg to “INDICT HIMSELF” on social media.

Who is Alvin Bragg?

Bragg is a 49-year-old lawyer who made history in November 2021 when he was elected as Manhattan’s first Black district attorney.

He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School and has served as a state and federal prosecutor who sought “to make our communities safer and our criminal justice system fairer,” according to the Manhattan DA website. 

Last year, Bragg was responsible for leading an investigation into the Trump Organization, which resulted in Allen Weisselberg, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Allen, being found guilty of 15 felony counts in connection with a long-running tax evasion scheme.

Before taking on his most recent position, he served as a visiting professor of law and co-director of the Racial Justice Project at New York Law School. While in that position, Bragg filed a lawsuit on behalf of Eric Garner’s mother and sister against the City of New York in an effort to recover information regarding Garner’s police-involved death. 

Why has Trump targeted Bragg?

Trump and members of the Republican Party are calling these charges a “witchhunt.” The former president claimed Bragg convinced a grand jury to indict him solely based on political reasons.

However, Sue Ann Robinson, an attorney at Ben Crump Law in Ft. Lauderdale, said that Trump’s logic is unfounded.

“He’s calling for the weaponization of the criminal justice system against Bragg while claiming that the criminal justice system is being weaponized against him. Make it make sense,” she told theGrio.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 25: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. speaks during a press conference regarding Steven Lopez and the Central Park jogger case at New York State Supreme Court on July 25, 2022 in New York City.(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Christina M. Greer, the host of theGrio’s “The Blackest Questions” podcast and associate professor of political science at Fordham University, said Trump is lodging racial slurs at Bragg because the former president has a long history of saying racist comments and is now worried about his future.

“I think this is actually the first time that he actually is frightened…I think what Donald Trump is trying to do is to raise doubt in the minds of a lot of people who say, well, it’s a former president; you shouldn’t do this,” said Greer.

She continued, “The larger question, and I think Alvin Bragg and his office are very clear about, is it doesn’t matter if you are a former president or if you’re a journalist or a producer or professor. The law should be equal for everyone.”

What are Bragg’s next steps?

Bragg held a press conference following Trump’s arrest on Tuesday and stated that the former president promoted “a [presidential] candidacy by unlawful means” and needs to be held accountable.

“No matter who you are, we cannot and will not normalize serious criminal conduct,” he said.

Bragg accused Trump of making false statements to “cover up crimes relating to the 2016 election. Donald Trump executives at the publishing company American Media Inc., Mr. Cohen, and others agreed in 2015 to a catch-and-kill scheme. That is a scheme to buy and suppress negative information to help Mr. Trump’s chance of winning the election.”

According to Bragg, Trump and members of his campaign team made payments to individuals “who claimed to have negative information about Mr. Trump,” including his payment to Daniels. 

The district attorney concluded: “We today uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that everyone stands equal before the law.”

Stormy Daniels arrives for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Trump’s charges carry a 136-year prison sentence; however, if his case goes to trial, then he may get a lesser sentence if found guilty, according to Reuters.

In the meantime, it is expected that Trump’s legal team will slow down the legal process in order to keep the former president from going to trial and allow him to continue pursuing his 2024 bid for the Oval Office.

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