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Prosecutor who resigned over stalled Trump probe says ex-president committed felonies

Former president Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando on Feb. 26. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
5 min

NEW YORK — A veteran prosecutor who resigned from a special appointment to the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into Donald Trump’s finances and business practices said the former president personally committed felonies and should be charged promptly.

The comments were made in Mark Pomerantz’s Feb. 23 resignation letter as he and Carey Dunne, another top investigator on the team probing Trump and the family-run Trump Organization, abruptly left the office after people familiar with the matter said District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) appeared uninterested in pursuing a case.

“The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did,” Pomerantz’s letter said, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post. The New York Times first reported on the contents of Pomerantz’s letter.

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Pomerantz added that Trump lied to banks and other relevant parties committing “numerous felony violations” through his practice of filing bogus Statements of Financial Condition. Investigators under the district attorney and the New York attorney general spent years working to determine if Trump and the Trump Organization tried to decrease tax liability by falsely minimizing asset values while trying to obtain favorable loan rates using other fake estimates.

Pomerantz said he and his counterparts in the probe determined Trump broke New York law and that a criminal case against him was viable.

“In my view, the public interest warrants the criminal prosecution of Mr. Trump, and such a prosecution should be brought without any further delay,” the letter said, noting that the case has dragged on for so long because of obstruction by Trump and the Trump Organization.

Pomerantz said in the letter that despite what the investigative team had unearthed, Bragg’s office had “suspended indefinitely” the Trump investigation, prompting his decision to resign.

“I believe that your decision not to prosecute Donald Trump now, and on the existing record, is misguided and completely contrary to the public interest,” Pomerantz said, suggesting that a further delay would jeopardize their ability to bring a case at all.

Trump has not announced he will seek reelection in 2024, but he is widely believed to be raising funds for a future presidential run.

Delays have prohibited the advancement of the state prosecutor’s case since it began in 2019 under District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D). Bragg inherited the case when he won election to the office last year.

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Trump waged a protracted legal battle to try to stop Vance from obtaining his tax returns and related records. A year ago, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump could not prevent his accounting firm Mazars USA from complying with the district attorney’s subpoena for his documents.

There have also been looming statutes-of-limitations deadlines that could keep prosecutors from utilizing certain laws if a future case were to be considered.

A spokeswoman for Bragg said his office’s probe into Trump and the company is still underway but declined to discuss it further, citing “an ongoing investigation.” Bragg appointed one of his own executives, Susan Hoffinger, to lead the case after Pomerantz and Dunne left.

“A team of experienced prosecutors is working every day to follow the facts and the law,” Bragg spokeswoman Danielle Filson said in a statement.

Vance had decided to proceed with a case against Trump, convening a six-month grand jury last fall to hear evidence against the polarizing former president but ultimately left the final say on whether to go forward to Bragg, who was weeks away from assuming office. That grand jury stopped hearing evidence when progress stalled under Bragg.

Trump’s attorney Ron Fischetti said he believed Pomerantz, his former law partner, left the case because he was “angry” over Bragg’s reluctance to go forward after Pomerantz spent more than a year trying to put together a case.

“We should applaud District Attorney Alvin Bragg for adhering to the rule of law and sticking to the evidence while making an apolitical charging decision based solely on the lack of evidence and nothing else,” Fischetti said.

Trump Organization spokeswoman Kimberly Benza called Pomerantz “a never-Trumper” with “zero credibility.” Benza said Pomerantz “came out of retirement to take a non-paying job in the District Attorney’s Office for the sole purpose of getting Donald Trump.”

Pomerantz, a former federal prosecutor who headed the criminal division of the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and later spent years in private practice, joined the case more than a year ago as an unpaid “special assistant district attorney” adding extensive experience in building complex cases to an already expansive team.

On his way out, he told Bragg that any further delay in bringing a case “will doom any future prospects that Mr. Trump will be prosecuted for the criminal conduct we have been investigating.”

“I have worked too hard as a lawyer, and for too long, now to become a passive participant in what I believe to be a grave failure of justice,” Pomerantz said in his departure missive.

Last year, Trump’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, was indicted along with the Trump Organization for allegedly engaging in a 15-year tax cheating scheme involving compensation for Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives.

While close observers of the case raised doubts that any further charges would stem from the Trump probe, Pomerantz and his team quietly worked to solidify a case they expected Bragg would authorize once he took office on Jan. 1.

Pomerantz said Bragg was seeking additional evidence but that investigators had already done all there was to do during an inquiry spanning more than two years.

“No events are likely to occur that will alter the nature of the case or dramatically change the quality or quantity of the evidence available to the prosecution,” his letter said.