Trump New York criminal probe gets new prosecutor

Previous prosecutors resigned after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was said to have expressed doubts about the case

The new prosecutor will lead the probe into Donald Trump and the practices of his family business, the Trump Organisation. AP
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A new prosecutor has been chosen to lead a criminal investigation into former US president Donald Trump, the Manhattan district attorney's office said on Friday, after the departure of two top lawyers threw the investigation's future into question.

Susan Hoffinger will now lead the probe into Mr Trump and the practices of his family business, the Trump Organisation, said Danielle Filson, a spokeswoman for Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney.

This week, Special Counsel Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz — who had been leading the investigation begun by former district attorney Cyrus Vance — resigned. The New York Times reported they left after Mr Bragg indicated to them he had doubts about pursuing a case against Mr Trump.

Ron Fischetti, a lawyer for Mr Trump, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Ms Hoffinger's appointment. On Wednesday, Mr Fischetti said the departures indicated “the case is over” and that Mr Bragg would not bring charges against Mr Trump.

Donald Trump stands with his children Ivanka and Donald Jr during a press conference at Trump Tower in New York. AFP

Both Mr Bragg's probe and a separate civil investigation by New York State Attorney General Letitia James focus on whether Mr Trump misrepresented the value of his real estate properties. Investigators are looking into whether values were inflated to obtain bank loans and reduced to lower tax bills.

Mr Trump, a Republican who left office in January 2021, has previously denied wrongdoing and said both the state and city investigations were politically motivated. He has not ruled out seeking the presidency again in 2024.

Both Mr Bragg and Ms James are Democrats, as is Mr Vance, who did not seek re-election.

The criminal probe resulted last July in tax fraud charges against the Trump Organisation and its long-time chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. Both Mr Weisselberg and the company pleaded not guilty.

Last week, a state judge overseeing Ms James's probe directed Mr Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Jr and Ivanka, to answer questions under oath in depositions. The Trump family will appeal that ruling, their lawyer said.

Ms James said on Friday that the appeal would not affect her team's investigation.

“Make no mistake: my office will continue to pursue this case without fear or favour because no one is above the law,” Ms James said in a statement.

Ms Hoffinger worked at a private law firm focusing on criminal defence before joining Mr Bragg's office as executive assistant district attorney and chief of investigations in February, her LinkedIn profile says. She previously served in the Manhattan District Attorney's office in the 1990s.

Updated: February 25, 2022, 7:36 PM

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