Manhattan DA hires ex-DOJ official to help lead Trump probe

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg is hiring a former senior Justice Department official who took on Donald J. Trump and his family business as the office is seeking to intensify its investigation of the former president.

The official, Matthew Colangelo, led the New York attorney general’s civil investigation of Trump before becoming the Justice Department’s third-in-command. Trump is likely to be one of the leaders in the district attorney’s criminal investigation of the former president.

The hiring marks the latest twist in a long-running investigation that has been carried out on and off in recent years. When Mr. Bragg took office in January, his predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., had directed prosecutors to start producing evidence about Mr. Bragg. Trump inflated his assets to a grand jury.

But sir. Bragg began to worry about the strength of the case. When he told the two top prosecutors leading the investigation, Mark F. Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, in February that he was not going to authorize the charges, they resigned, giving the investigation The future is clouded.

gentlemen. Bragg insists the matter is ongoing, and in recent months prosecutors led by the office’s investigative chief, Susan Hofinger, have refocused on paying hush money to a porn star who said she had an affair with Bragg. trump card.

gentlemen. Colangelo’s stint at the New York attorney general’s office may also be relevant to his new job: Manhattan prosecutors also scrutinized whether the former president illegally inflated the value of his assets, as did New York attorney general Letitia James In September, she filed a lawsuit accusing the former president of overestimating his multibillion-dollar fortune.

By then, Mr. Colangelo was working at the Justice Department, where President Biden was named acting deputy attorney general when he took office. In that job, the third in the department is Mr. Colangelo has helped oversee the civil, civil rights, antitrust and tax departments.

He resigned when Permanent Deputy Attorney General Vanita Gupta was appointed, but he continues to serve as her deputy and oversees lawyers in the divisions.

gentlemen. Colangelo, 48, who served as a top Labor Department official in the Obama administration, will join the district attorney’s office as senior counsel. In addition to helping with his “most sensitive and high-profile white-collar investigations,” he is expected to focus on housing and tenant protections as well as labor and worker protections, which are Trump’s priorities. Prague.

“Matthew Colangelo brings extensive economic justice experience as well as complex white-collar investigations with the sound judgment and integrity to seek justice when powerful people and institutions abuse their power,” he said. Bragg said in a statement confirming the hiring.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement that he relied on Mr. Colangelo has “sensible advice and excellent judgment” from day one on the job.

gentlemen. Bragg was promoted to chief deputy attorney general while Mr. Colangelo worked at the New York attorney general’s office. Colangelo is lead advisor on federal initiatives. In that role, Mr. Colangelo has spearheaded dozens of lawsuits against the Trump administration, including successfully challenging the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census. He also oversaw investigations into the Trump administration. Trump’s charity, the Trump Foundation, led to the organization’s dissolution and led the office’s civil investigation of Mr. Trump. Trump’s financial practices led to the lawsuit in September.

gentlemen. Colangelo, who also spent seven years with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund on housing and employment issues, said in a statement that he was “honored to be reunited with District Attorney Bragg.”

“Expanding enforcement of worker protection and tenant protection laws will make our neighborhoods safer for all New Yorkers and level the playing field for responsible employers and landlords,” said Mr. Colangelo’s statement said. “Assisting district attorneys to focus on financial crime will boost confidence in the legal system by making it clear that the same rules apply to everyone, no matter how powerful.”

He will join the District Attorney’s Office as prosecutors begin investigating Mr. Trump’s start in 2018 has already led to a trial of the former president’s family business, with juries beginning their deliberations on Monday.

And Mr. Colangelo, who has extensive knowledge of the Trump Organization’s business practices and extensive litigation experience, came to investigate and spent little time dealing with white-collar criminal proceedings. He never served as a line prosecutor or served as a criminal defense attorney.

But former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez said Mr. Colangelo, who was hired twice and was his chief of staff at the Labor Department, was a quick learner.

“Matthew is perfect for this sensitive work because he is poised, legally brilliant, has impeccable judgment and is humble enough to involve those around him,” Mr Matthew said. Perez said in an interview.

gentlemen. During Colangelo’s tenure in the Obama administration, his previous lawsuit against Mr. Trump’s administration and its effect on Ms. James’ investigation is likely to spark protests from the former president, who has called the criminal and civil investigations a unified “witch hunt.” some or ms. James’ attorneys have been assigned to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for the criminal investigation, and one of them, Gary Fishman, is on the trial team prosecuting the Trump Organization.

ben protest and William K Rushbaum Contribution report.

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