There is reason to assert that the Trump prosecutor’s office was persecuted

The Facts and Law Behind New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg successful prosecution of Donald Trump could be discussed at length. But as a government prosecutor for 30 years, I was most interested in the prosecutorial ethics in this case.

Outside the courthouse after the verdict, Trump said: “It was a shame.” This echoes comments made in the year since his indictment in the case in which Trump has repeatedly claimed the charge was “political persecution.”

His argument is well-founded.

No one has better emphasized the important ethical standards that have enabled state and federal prosecutors to maintain an image of integrity and honesty than Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson. In a speech to federal prosecutors across the country on April 1, 1940, he noted that prosecutors should select cases in which the offense is “the most egregious and the public harm the greatest”, while warning that the prosecutor’s ability to choose defendants is the “power more dangerous “.

Choosing defendants, Jackson said, requires judgment. It is a power that can be abused.

“With law books filled with a wide range of crimes, a prosecutor has a good chance of finding a technical violation of an act on the part of almost anyone,” Jackson said. In some cases, he said, “it’s not about discovering the commission of a crime and then finding the man who committed it, it’s about choosing the man and then to search the law books, or to send investigators on site. work, to reproach him for a certain offense.

It is when the prosecutor “selects a person he does not like or wishes to embarrass, or selects a group of unpopular people and then seeks an offense, that the greatest risk of abuse of prosecutorial power lies.” “, warned Jackson.

Our point of view: A criminal in the White House? After Trump’s conviction, voters need to reflect on their values.

For years, as a federal prosecutor, I was proud to stand up in front of juries and announce, “Ron Sievert for the United States.” I thought the majority of people in the courtroom understood that the federal government traditionally pursued the “most egregious” cases. These were cases where, as Jackson put it, “the public harm” was “greatest.”

We prosecutors have preserved our reputation for not prosecuting for political reasons by only prosecuting cases where there were real victims, i.e., bodily injury or financial loss. The U.S. Department of Justice had an unwritten but long-understood policy never to charge or try a politician for a nonviolent crime within a year of an election.

Lawsuits against Donald Trump in New York can be, and have been, characterized well before today by some as a “political prosecution” due to the firm belief that a case over an allegedly false record would never have been brought if Trump had not been a candidate for president.

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