New docs show Bragg spent $1M on attorneys to address House probe of Trump case amid city budget cuts

EXCLUSIVE: Findings from more than 100 pages of documents gleaned through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed that the prosecutor in NY v. Trump spent $1 million to respond to congressional oversight of his prosecution at a time New York City officials were demanding across-the-board budget cuts.

Documents procured through litigation by the Oversight Project, a good-government transparency arm of the Heritage Foundation, showed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office sent an April 2023 interoffice memo announcing a $1 million appropriation for outside counsel.

According to the memo, the funds came from a 2019 settlement with a financial institution that was accused of illegally transacting with nations subject to U.S. sanctions.

“Due to this unanticipated need, $1,000,000 will be made available for this matter from the DANY Deficit Project under the UniCredit subfund,” the memo read.


The document also referenced an attached “engagement letter” signed with the high-powered Los Angeles-based Gibson Dunn law firm, and the packet also included an approved waiver from the New York City Conflict of Interest Board to permit a Bragg counsel to participate in the case despite a familial connection to a Gibson Dunn attorney.

Another piece of the document tranche said Bragg indicated it would be in the best interests of the office to hire outside counsel to respond to congressional inquiry from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and others at the time. 

Of five law firms that were apparently solicited, only Gibson Dunn was immediately available, according to the findings.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has approved the use of funds received as part of the 2019 UniCredit settlement to be used toward retaining outside counsel tied to a congressional inquiry into the investigation and prosecution of a confidential investigation division case.

The email then references an attached engagement letter signed by Bragg with Gibson Dunn and documents referenced Bragg’s office’s awareness of the trio of House committees looking into his investigation of former President Trump.


On April 4, 2023, around the time of the actions indicated in the trove of documents, New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued a citywide directive to cut $1 billion over the following four years. New York did then and continues to face dueling crises of crime, slowing economic growth and a migrant influx.

All agencies were to enact plans to cut 4% from their budgets, according to a memo obtained by the New York Post at the time. By November, the budget cuts had affected school and library programs and somewhat lowered the rolls of the NYPD, according to the New York Times.

The findings of the FOIA request suggest Bragg should, instead of prosecuting Trump, be “arresting himself,” said attorney Mike Howell, the Oversight Project’s executive director, in an interview with Fox News Digital.

“It speaks to the fact that Bragg had to go outside [the district attorney’s office] for this sort of work; very similar to how he had to have [prosecutor Matthew] Colangelo come down from DOJ.”

In an exchange with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., during a House hearing last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland repeatedly denied he or the Justice Department dispatched Colangelo to New York or had anything to do with the latter taking a prominent role in Trump’s prosecution.

Howell further criticized the timing of Bragg’s $1 million allocation, saying it was done at a time when his city was “deteriorating into a third-world urban area.”

“It shows the highest focus of this unique kind of ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach as applied to President Trump, while they have just degeneracy, deviancy and crime in their streets,” he said.

Howell said the documents his organization obtained are, however, only the first shoe likely to drop in the Oversight Project’s focus on Bragg’s office’s behavior and that future FOIA hearings are on the docket in coming days and weeks. His one focus will be on alleged “voluminous communications” between Bragg’s office and “Washington, D.C., political operatives” about which a hearing was held last Tuesday.


“You have [Adams] telling folks to cut back and focus on crime problems, and then you have a DA spending more and focusing on political persecution as New York City goes to hell,” he said.

The documents also depict an environment where the political left is expending much more resources to prosecute Trump than the right is to defend the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Howell said.

“I mean, they were willing to cut that check immediately to a high-priced law firm to dispense with the inquiries from Chairman Jordan, which they did. Chairman Jordan’s office didn’t really lay a glove on him.”

However, as of Saturday, the Associated Press reported Bragg appeared to agree to testify before what the outlet predicted to be a “hostile” subcommittee hearing. The AP reported Jordan requested Bragg’s presence at a June 13 hearing, but the prosecutor’s office needed a new date and asked for more information on the “scope and purpose” of the hearing. 

The outlet further predicted any hearing would take place beyond Trump’s scheduled July sentencing.

One of Howell’s hopes in his organization procuring the documents is that it will lead Congress to double its efforts to fight ongoing “lawfare” on the left and offered one reported example that House Republicans could access “reserve funds” from the now-defunct House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack to appropriately resource such efforts.

Attorney Mike Davis, a former chief nominations counsel for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who oversaw floor votes for such key nominations as Justice Brett Kavanaugh, called the findings a true “scandal.”

“Instead of spending money fighting real crime in New York City, Alvin Bragg and Matthew Colangelo weaponized and politicized the DA’s office to get Trump and line the pockets of their allies,” said Davis, now president of the Article III Project, an organization coined from Article III of the Constitution that aims to forward originalism in its advice on federal judicial nominees.

Davis further criticized Bragg’s office for hiring “one of the most expensive law firms in the world to fight a legitimate congressional subpoena.”

Neither Bragg’s office nor Gibson Dunn responded to requests for comment.

Original News Source Link – Fox News

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