New York political prosecutor exposed

If there was any doubt that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was a corrupt law enforcement official who abuses his office to prosecute his political enemies and protect his allies, it was eliminated Thursday when his office dismissed trespassing charges against 30 anti-Israel protesters who had been arrested after occupying a building on the campus of Columbia University.

On the morning of April 30, the protesters, who had already been camping illegally on campus for two weeks, smashed a window on the first floor of the university’s Hamilton Hall, unlocked the door, illegally entered the building, covered the security cameras, and then used wooden tables, chairs, zip ties, and metal chains to barricade themselves inside. Several custodial staffers were trapped inside, too, but they were eventually released. 

Police retook the building that night, arresting 44 malefactors, 13 of whom had no affiliation with the university. Columbia President Minouche Shafik called the occupation “a violent act that put our students at risk.” Columbia would go on to cancel its graduation ceremony as administrators felt they could not protect the safety of students and their families from violent protesters.

Despite the violence, the physical damage to the building, and the atmosphere of intimidation that caused the cancellation of graduation, Bragg’s office announced in Manhattan Criminal Courthouse Thursday that charges against 30 of the protesters would be dropped entirely and that the charges against 13 others could also be dropped as long as they were not rearrested in the next six months. Only one protester, who later destroyed a police camera while in jail, is still facing consequences.

After Bragg’s office dismissed the case, the unrepentant defendants held a press conference outside the courthouse where one of them, his face covered by a ski mask, promised he and his fellows would continue to “resist the pigs, the police in the United States.”

Bragg’s leniency to protesters whose anti-Israel views are shared by many Democrats contrasts starkly with his tortuously zealous and unprecedented prosecution of Republican Donald Trump for the misclassification of payments to his lawyer as legal expenses when Bragg claims they should have been recorded as repayments of a debt.

Unlike the crimes committed by the anti-Israel protesters, Trump’s incorrect filing of business records harmed no one, caused no damage to person or property, and did not intimidate anyone into canceling public events. In fact, it was such a non-event that Bragg did not even charge Trump until six years after the offenses, such as they are, were committed. This normally would have put them outside the statute of limitations, so Bragg elevated misdemeanors into felonies by adding a second crime of which Trump was never tried or convicted.

Bragg brought the charges against Trump only to fulfill a political promise and help his fellow Democrats, who are desperate to help President Joe Biden defeat Trump in this November’s election.


The future of Bragg’s partisan conviction of Trump took a blow Friday when the Supreme Court held in Erlinger v. United States that a defendant’s penalty enhancement for past offenses was unconstitutional since those offenses were not found by a unanimous jury. This is relevant because, as mentioned above, Bragg was able to turn the misdemeanor business filing charge into a felony only by referencing a separate crime Trump was never shown to have committed.

Bragg’s decision to stretch New York law into an unprecedented prosecution of a political opponent was bad. To turn around and choose not to prosecute violent crimes committed by political allies adds injury to insult.