Apr 15, 2024 - Politics & Policy

What to know about Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, prosecutor in Trump's first criminal trial

Alvin Bragg stands and speaks into a small microphone. He is wearing a blue suit, white shirt, blue tie and black glasses. Behind him, the background is mostly dark with the exception of an American flag.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks during a press conference following the arraignment of former President Trump in April 2023 in New York City. Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's case against former President Donald Trump over alleged hush money paid to an adult film actress has entered a new, critical phase.

Why it matters: Bragg is now the first prosecutor to begin a criminal trial against a current or former U.S. president.

Driving the news: The trial began on Monday in one of Trump's four criminal cases, despite attempts from his legal team to delay its start.

  • He faces charges for allegedly falsifying business records to cover up a payment worth $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
  • This was the first of the four criminal cases brought against him, and he pleaded not guilty.

State of play: Bragg, a Democrat who grew up in Harlem, became Manhattan's first Black district attorney in 2022.

  • He beat out seven other Democrats in the 2021 election in a campaign focused on public safety and fairness for defendants.
  • "Alvin believes in holding powerful people accountable for harming everyday New Yorkers," the DA's website said.
  • He has prioritized reducing recidivism, increasing gun prosecutions and centering the well-being of survivors.

Context: Bragg earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

  • Before becoming D.A., he was a visiting professor and co-director of the Racial Justice Project at New York Law School, where he represented Eric Garner's mother and sister in a lawsuit.

Flashback: Bragg inherited the Trump case from former Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance.

  • The Manhattan District Attorney's Office subpoenaed the Trump Organization for records related to the alleged hush money in 2019.
  • In 2023, a grand jury in New York indicted Trump over the investigation.

Worthy of your time: Bragg secured a six-count indictment against former White House strategist Steve Bannon and WeBuildTheWall Inc. on charges including money laundering, conspiracy and scheming to defraud.

Friction point: Bragg has received attacks from Republicans, who said the prosecution was politically partisan.

  • He received death threats and "violent and racist vitriol" from Trump allies following the former president's controversial indictment.
  • Erin E. Murphy, a New York University law professor and friend of Bragg's, told the New York Times the prosecutor isn't political.
  • "He's like, not a hyperpartisan political person in any way, shape or form," Murphy said.

Go deeper: U.S. voters take Trump's hush money charges seriously: Poll

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