One person not often seen during Trump's trial: Alvin Bragg, the prosecutor who brought the case

Former President Donald Trump often visits him Criminal trial in New York flanked by elected officials who choose to sit in a courtroom for hours.

They sit in the first two rows of the field on Trump's side, a section reserved for his team. On the prosecutor's side, the same section often has an empty chair, reserved for an official usually chosen to do other work during the trial: Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney.

Bragg has attended parts of the proceedings here and there, mainly on days when his own staff – including young paralegals – are called to testify as witnesses and then subjected to defense grilling.

“Bragg is doing it the right way,” said Domenic Trunfio, a law professor at Syracuse University.

For nearly two decades, Trunfio led the day-to-day operations of the Onandaga County district attorney's office in Syracuse, which has a jurisdiction of about half a million people, a third the size of Manhattan. He said it's meaningful that Bragg shows up for his staff.

“It shows support. It says, 'Hey, I'm here. I know you're testifying in a case against the former president of the United States. And I'm here for you,'” Trunfio said.

Such was the case when paralegal Georgia Longstreet was challenged by Trump attorney Todd Blanche about whether she has independent knowledge of how X (formerly Twitter) or Trump's Truth Social network adds timestamps to social media posts — or whether she could affirmatively say who Trump was talking about. about when he posted, “If you come after me, I'll come after you!”

“I have my assumptions, but no,” Longstreet said, standing about 10 feet away from Trump.

And he watched as another Trump lawyer, Emil Bove, asked paralegal Jaden Jarmel-Schneider if creating phone logs was “tedious” work.

“Honestly, I quite enjoyed it,” Jarmel-Schneider said, prompting laughter in the courtroom.

'I hear that. Respect,” Bove replied.

A spokesman for Bragg declined comment for this story.

Trump has entered a not guilty plea in the case in which he is involved charged with 34 crimes of falsifying corporate documents. The documents are believed to be intended to conceal “hush money” payments made in 2016 to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who at the time agreed not to speak publicly about a sexual encounter that Trump denies.

Bragg attended parts of about a third of the trial's 18 days, but even that level of participation is exceedingly rare for a Manhattan prosecutor, said Diana Florence, who worked for Bragg's two predecessors.

“In my 25-year career, during which I have handled many high-profile cases, the district attorney came to my summons a few times and to opening statements a few times,” Florence said. “But overall, that wasn't really something they would do.”

Florence said prosecutors are typically too busy with other aspects of the job to participate in trials, such as pushing legislation relevant to law enforcement or their office and reviewing other major cases that go before grand juries .

Bragg has done both in the past month. Among other things, he called for an update to New York's hate crimes law, which was included in the state's fiscal year 2025 budget, and sent a letter YouTube questions to tweak algorithms that he said recommended videos to children about making ghost guns and 3D-printed weapons, and he signed on to a bill that would allow prosecutors to more easily present evidence in sex crime cases showing that suspects are more likely to be 'bad'. actions.”

That bill was inspired by an April 25 decision by the New York Court of Appeals overturning the conviction for rape from former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

His office has also announced major indictments, including those related to the murder of a man pushed in front of a subway train, sex trafficking, a large-scale retail theft and a notorious landlord accused of harassing his tenants.

Florence and Trunfio said that for major cases like this, as well as the Weinstein case and of course the Trump case, prosecutors need the district attorney's support. Ultimately, his name is on the indictment.

“The elephant in the room here is that this is the largest criminal case anyone has seen in a century,” Trunfio said.

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