Former federal prosecutor close to winning Manhattan DA primary

Alvin Bragg stands with his wife Jamila Bragg at an election evening meeting as he speaks to supporters in New York on late Tuesday, June 22, 2021. | Craig Ruttle / AP Photo

NEW YORK – Former federal attorney Alvin Bragg opened the Manhattan District Attorney on a lead in the Democratic primary, defeating a field of seven other candidates vying for the likely successor to outgoing attorney Cy Vance.

Bragg, if he won the November general election, would become Black Manhattan’s first prosecutor, and take on a high-profile investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business and other important investigations.

By early Wednesday morning, Bragg had 34 percent of the district’s vote compared to 30 percent of Tali Farhadian Weinstein, with nearly 90 percent of the districts reporting. Postal ballot papers still have to be counted.

In an election night speech, he was about to declare victory but said he was confident in his leadership. “We’re going to do things a little differently in Manhattan,” Bragg said.

Bragg, a former assistant attorney general and federal prosecutor, formed the broadest coalition in the crowded race, gaining both progressive and moderate supporters with his biography and reform promises. It was enough to dampen the flood of advertising from the other front runner in the race, Farhadian Weinstein.

The district attorney’s area code, being a state office, did not use the ranked voting system used in area codes for mayors and other municipal offices. Nor was it regulated by the city’s stricter campaign finance laws.

Bragg, a Harlem native, has spoken of being stopped and searched three times at gunpoint by the NYPD, incidents that shaped his views on the criminal justice system.

He has urged the number of detainees to be reduced and listed minor crimes that he would refuse to prosecute. But he stopped accepting the left-most positions in the race, such as cutting the prosecutor’s office in half.

His closest competitor was Farhadian Weinstein, a former General Counsel of the Brooklyn DA, who ran on a moderate platform and was supported by Wall Street money and $ 8.2 million Donate for your own campaign.

In a speech on election night, she said the race was too short to be named. “I wish I could be here to tell you this thing is over, but I think we all knew tonight that this choice wasn’t going to be decided tonight, and it wasn’t,” said you. “I ask for patience. We made a permanent promise to fight for security and fairness. “

Tahanie Aboushi, a civil rights attorney, was the favorite of activists on the left, with a platform calling for a drastic reduction in law enforcement and a cut in the chief prosecutor’s budget. She was in third place with 11 percent of the vote on Tuesday evening.

Eliza Orlins, a public defender, took similar positions. Rep. Dan Quart also pledged to reduce prosecutions and sentences and to stop prosecuting many crimes. They were both single digits in the preliminary votes, as were former prosecutors Lucy Lang and Diana Florence and Liz Crotty, who ran on the most traditional law and order platform.

Vance, who won the prosecutor’s seat in 2009, announced in March that he was would not seek re-election. At this point in time, a large number of candidates were already vying for his successor.

Bragg was the first candidate for officially declare what was expected to be the primary challenge against Vance at the time, and sharply criticized the prosecutor’s record, saying he had a different standard of justice for the rich and powerful.

Bragg was appointed by former US Attorney Preet Bharara, unions such as the United Federation of Teachers and 1199SEIU and a. supported Host of Harlem political figures. He also got the support the New York Times.

He was one of the lawyers who represented Eric Garner’s family in a successful lawsuit seeking an inquest into his death, and he was assisted by Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr.

The race of the DA became controversial in its final phase.

Bragg was hit with Quart by Farhadian Weinstein in advertisements that labeled them bad for victims of violence against women. The ad cited responses on a candidate questionnaire in which the two stated that they would drop some domestic violence charges, particularly those where both parties filed complaints against each other but neither party wanted to proceed.

Bragg said the ads played in racist tropics that black men are a danger to women.

Competitors too criticized Bragg for his record Head of a unit in the AG’s office dedicated to investigating police killings of unarmed civilians that did not lead to convictions.

Meanwhile, Farhadian Weinstein was attacked for an assault Report in ProPublica, who received Farhadian Weinstein’s tax filings and found that she and her husband have paid virtually no federal taxes in recent years. Rivals also beat her for putting so much money into the race.

And the left squabbled in the race for the best way forward. Zephyr Teachout, law professor and former gubernatorial candidate, urged the progressives to get behind Bragg. to unite. “It’s up to Farhadian Weinstein and Bragg. A lock-em prosecutor and a reformer who works to end mass incarceration. ” she said. “Please vote for Bragg.”

But Cynthia Nixon, another left-wing ex-gubernatorial challenger to Governor Andrew Cuomo and an Aboushi supporter, disagreed. “Your point of view is short-sighted, privileged and simply wrong” she said.

A Republican candidate, Thomas Kenniff, who voted unanimously in favor of this party’s nomination, will vote in November. But Bragg is heavily favored in largely democratic Manhattan.

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