House GOP Probes Links Between ‘Weaponized’ Biden DOJ and Top Bragg Prosecutor in Trump Trial

‘A former senior Biden Justice Department official is now leading the prosecution of President Biden’s chief political rival,’ Jim Jordan wrote.

The House Judiciary Committee is investigating a top prosecutor on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against former President Trump for his past work as a senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official during the Biden administration, amid allegations that the Trump prosecution is politically driven.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in an April 30 letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland that, as part of the committee’s oversight of “politically motivated prosecutions,” it is concerned that former senior DOJ official Matthew Colangelo is now leading Mr. Bragg’s “politicized” prosecution against the former president.

“That a former senior Biden Justice Department official is now leading the prosecution of President Biden’s chief political rival only adds to the perception that the Biden Justice Department is politicized and weaponized,” Mr. Jordan wrote in the letter.

Mr. Colangelo, who delivered the opening statement in President Trump’s so-called “hush money” trial in New York last week, joined Mr. Bragg’s office in December 2022.

For a period of time, Mr. Colangelo also worked as Chief Counsel for Federal Initiatives at the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who led a separate case against President Trump that accused him of inflating asset values to get better loan terms and that ended in a $464 million judgment against the former president.

During his time at the office of Ms. James, who has also been accused of political motivations in her prosecution of the former president, Mr. Colangelo was involved in the investigation into the Trump Organization.

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In his letter, Mr. Jordan is demanding that Mr. Garland provide various records related to Mr. Colangelo’s work in the Justice Department, as well as any communication between Mr. Bragg’s office and the DOJ related to President Trump or any of his businesses.

“Given the perception that the Justice Department is assisting in Bragg’s politicized prosecution, we write to request information and documents related to Mr. Colangelo’s employment,” Mr. Jordan wrote, while alleging that Mr. Colangelo’s recent employment history “demonstrates his obsession with investigating a person rather than prosecuting a crime.”

In the so-called “hush money” case, Mr. Bragg has charged President Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records to hide nondisclosure payments that Mr. Colangelo alleges amounted to a criminal conspiracy to influence the 2016 presidential election.

President Trump has maintained his innocence and has called the case a “political witch hunt.”

The DOJ did not respond to a request for comment on Mr. Jordan’s letter.

‘Political Vendetta’

Mr. Colangelo’s experience includes cases that involve the former president.

While at Ms. James’ office, he was part of a team that sued President Trump’s charitable organization in 2018 over allegations that the former president improperly used charitable assets in his 2016 presidential primary campaign. The lawsuit led the Trump Foundation to be shut down and caused the former president to be ordered to pay $2 million in damages.
Later, Mr. Colangelo was involved in Ms. James’ probe into the Trump Organization, which centered on allegations that the former president and his company defrauded banks, insurers, and others by allegedly overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth in documents used in deals and to secure loans.

That case ended with a $464 million (including interest) judgment against President Trump, while also barring the former president from doing business in the state of New York for three years.

President Trump has argued that no bank was victimized by the stated asset valuations and that lenders—including Deutsche Bank—made considerable amounts of money in interest by extending the loans.

The former president has also repeatedly argued that his financial statements included a disclaimer that asked banks to carry out their own analyses and due diligence when reviewing loan applications.

After working on the investigation into the Trump Organization while at Ms. James’ office, Mr. Colangelo left for a high-ranking position at the DOJ, before returning two years later to New York and joining Mr. Bragg’s team.

The House Judiciary Committee, which Mr. Jordan leads, recently accused Mr. Bragg of being motivated by a “political vendetta” in bringing criminal charges against the former president.

“Bragg’s politically motivated prosecution of President Trump threatens to destroy this notion of blind justice by using the criminal justice system to attack an individual he disagrees with politically, and, in turn, erodes the confidence of the American people,” reads the House Judiciary report.

The report details the backdrop of Mr. Bragg’s decision to charge President Trump with 34 felony counts using a novel legal theory that bootstrapped misdemeanor allegations into a felony, alleging that the prosecution was motivated by political calculations.

“These charges are normally misdemeanors subject to a two-year statute of limitations, but Bragg used a novel and untested legal theory—previously declined by federal prosecutors—to bootstrap the misdemeanor allegations as a felony, which extended the statute of limitations to five years, by alleging that records were falsified to conceal a second crime,” the report states.

Under New York state law, falsifying business records is a misdemeanor. However, if the records fraud was used to cover up or commit another crime, the charge could be elevated to a felony.

In opening arguments in the “hush money” trial, Mr. Colangelo backed Mr. Bragg’s prosecutorial strategy. He portrayed the nondisclosure payments as part of a “planned, coordinated, long-running conspiracy to influence the 2016 election, to help Donald Trump get elected through illegal expenditures to silence people who had something bad to say about his behavior.”

“It was election fraud, pure and simple,” Mr. Colangelo alleged, claiming that “the case is about a criminal conspiracy and a cover-up.”

A number of legal experts have challenged the way Mr. Bragg elevated the misdemeanor into a felony, including retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who argued that Mr. Bragg was operating on an invalid legal premise because he invoked federal statutes over which New York has no jurisdiction.
Mr. Dershowitz also recently said that he believes that Mr. Bragg’s office has violated voters’ rights with the Trump prosecution, with the legal scholar arguing that the case amounts to a criminal conspiracy to influence elections.

Mr. Bragg’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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