Manhattan DA tells publisher former prosecutor’s Trump book could jeopardize probe


NEW YORK — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is concerned that a former prosecutor who wrote a book about his time investigating Donald Trump may jeopardize the office’s continuing probe, potentially violating laws and ethics rules in the process, according to a letter to the publisher and author sent Wednesday.

The former investigator, Mark Pomerantz, was put on a special assignment to work the Trump case by Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., and helped lead the effort until his abrupt resignation in February 2022, weeks into Bragg’s term. Pomerantz and another veteran lawyer, Carey Dunne, quit together in disagreement over how to proceed with the case.

Since then, Pomerantz has criticized Bragg, saying he wrongly stopped a move to quickly indict Trump, while Bragg sought more time to evaluate the evidence. Bragg now says a new book by Pomerantz to be published next month by Simon & Schuster could interfere with that effort.

“Mr. Pomerantz is under an obligation to receive prior written permission from the DA’s Office before making any disclosures relating to the ‘existence, nature, or content’ of any communications or records or documents that relate in any manner to the investigation he participated in as a Special Assistant,” the letter to Simon & Schuster from Bragg’s general counsel Leslie Dubeck says.

“The district attorney’s interest here is to protect the integrity of this office’s pending criminal investigations and proceedings regarding the former President,” Dubeck wrote, adding that because Pomerantz “has been separated from the DA’s office for nearly a year, he is not capable of making any assessment of whether disclosures he intends to disseminate in this publication” might prejudice the case.

Dubeck urged Pomerantz “not to take any further steps that would damage an ongoing criminal investigation.”

The DA’s office is not presently attempting to prevent the book’s publication.

“I am confident that all of my actions with respect to the Trump investigation, including the writing of my forthcoming book, are consistent with my legal and ethical obligations,” Pomerantz wrote in a statement after receiving the letter.

Simon & Schuster also did not have an immediate response.

Last week, after the sentencing of the Trump Organization in a tax case that did not ensnare the former president personally, Bragg said his team would “move on to the next chapter” of the larger Trump case, which began under Vance in 2019 and led the state prosecutor’s office to a Supreme Court fight — that it won — over the release of Trump’s tax returns.

On Tuesday, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who participated in a number of interviews during Pomerantz’s tenure, confirmed he had a 2 1/2 hour session with members of Bragg’s Trump investigative team. Cohen’s renewed role signals a focus on hush money given to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, allegedly on Trump’s behalf during the 2016 campaign.

Daniels claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump years before the election, which Trump denies.

“I find the entire team assembled by District Attorney (Alvin) Bragg to be extremely competent, thorough and knowledgeable,” Cohen said when reached by phone after the session.

Keith Davidson, an attorney who helped arrange the payment to Daniels, has also recently been contacted by Bragg’s office, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Since his departure, Pomerantz has been vocal about how he thought the case should have been handled.

“People vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account” is a 304-page account of Pomerantz’s “unprecedented investigation, why he believes Donald Trump should be prosecuted, and what we can learn about the nature of justice in America from this extraordinary case,” according to the publisher’s website.

Two New York City investigative bodies which monitor conduct of officials here — the Department of Investigation and the Conflicts of Interest Board — were copied on Dubeck’s letter, a move that could trigger formal reviews. Dubeck previously worked as general counsel for the DOI.

A DOI spokesperson could not immediately say how the agency would address the letter.

Pomerantz was a former federal prosecutor and defense attorney who was semiretired when he accepted the position at the DA’s office for no compensation. He signed an agreement that required him to get written permission from the DA’s office before disclosing anything related to the investigation, according to Dubeck’s letter.

Dubeck said her office was not given the chance to approve the material and is asking to be allowed to do so before its publication.

The letter also cites the office’s concern that the book’s publication could amount to a violation of the state’s grand jury secrecy law which makes it a felony for an official who is part of a grand jury proceeding to disclose “the nature or substance of any grand jury testimony, or any decision, result or other matter.”

The publication of the book could also violate other laws and ethics rules, the letter says.

Simon & Schuster called the book “a fascinating inside account of the attempt to prosecute former president Donald Trump, written by one of the lawyers who worked on the case and resigned in protest when Manhattan’s district attorney refused to act.”

Pomerantz and Dunne recently launched a pro bono law firm that expects to take on cases over gun safety, voting rights and book ban efforts.

Dunne was the former district attorney’s representative who argued the tax return subpoena dispute in front of the Supreme Court in 2020.

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