There are times when the concept of justice in America seems to be struggling to survive. That felt especially true last month, when Mark Pomerantz, one of the top New York City prosecutors handling the criminal investigation into Donald Trump, abruptly resigned. New Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg initially refused to release Pomerantz’s resignation letter, but The New York Times obtained and published it on March 23. The strongly worded text reveals Pomerantz’s belief that Trump was, in fact, guilty of felony offenses — and his frustration with Bragg’s apparent disagreement.
When attorneys are sworn in as prosecutors, they take an oath. Although the oath varies slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, in substance it involves a promise to faithfully enforce the applicable laws, be they federal, state, county or local. I had the honor to take such an oath many times in my 30 years as a prosecutor. I have prosecuted in military courts and civilian courts; in federal, state and local courts. In my experience and estimation, the people deserve three things from prosecutors: transparency (to the extent possible without compromising ongoing investigations), accountability and candor. When we look at how Alvin Bragg has performed in his short time as Manhattan district attorney, he seems to be coming up short on all three fronts.