Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, the prosecutor in the Trump case, rarely spotted during the trial

Former President Donald Trump frequently makes his way to his New York criminal trial accompanied by elected officials who opt to spend their time in a courtroom.

In the court, they occupy the first two rows on Trump’s side, which is exclusively reserved for his team. On the opposing side, there’s an empty seat in the same section, typically reserved for a public official who has opted to focus on other duties during the trial: Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney.

Bragg attended some of the proceedings, mainly when his own staff, including young paralegals, were called to testify as custodial witnesses and faced intense questioning from the defense.

According to Domenic Trunfio, a law professor at Syracuse University, Bragg is taking the correct approach in his actions.

Trunfio oversaw the daily operations of the Onandaga County district attorney’s office in Syracuse for almost twenty years. With a jurisdiction covering approximately half a million individuals, about one-third the size of Manhattan, Trunfio emphasized the significance of Bragg’s personal involvement with his team.

Trunfio emphasized the significance of support, stating that wearing a pin conveys the message, “Hey, I’m here. I acknowledge that you’re testifying in a case against the former president of the United States. And I want you to know that I am here to support you.”

During a recent encounter, paralegal Georgia Longstreet found herself facing a challenge from Trump attorney Todd Blanche. He questioned her about her personal understanding of the methods used by X (formerly Twitter) and Trump’s Truth Social network to add timestamps to social media posts. Additionally, Blanche asked if she could confidently identify the subject of Trump’s statement, “If you go after me, I’m coming after you!”

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Longstreet, sitting approximately 10 feet away from Trump, responded, “I have my assumptions, but no.”

He observed as another attorney on the Trump team, Emil Bove, inquired with paralegal Jaden Jarmel-Schneider about the laborious nature of creating phone call log charts.

“In all honesty, I actually quite enjoyed it,” Jarmel-Schneider exclaimed, sparking laughter throughout the courtroom.

“I completely understand and respect that sentiment,” Bove replied.

Bragg, when approached for a comment, chose not to provide any input for this story.

In the case, Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. These documents were supposedly used to conceal “hush money” payments made in 2016 to adult film star Stormy Daniels. At the time, Daniels agreed to keep silent about a sexual encounter that Trump has consistently denied.

According to Diana Florence, who worked for Bragg’s two predecessors, it is extremely rare for a Manhattan D.A. to attend parts of about one-third of the trial’s 18 days. However, Bragg has managed to exceed expectations by attending even that level of proceedings.

Throughout my 25-year career, I had the opportunity to handle numerous high-profile cases. On a few occasions, the District Attorney himself attended my summations and opening statements. However, it was not a common practice for them to be present during those proceedings, as noted by Florence.

According to Florence, District Attorneys often find themselves overwhelmed with various responsibilities that prevent them from attending trials. These tasks can include advocating for legislation that is pertinent to law enforcement or their office, as well as evaluating significant cases that are presented to grand juries.

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In the past month, Bragg has actively engaged in various initiatives. He successfully advocated for an update to New York’s hate crimes legislation, which was included in the state’s fiscal year 2025 budget. Additionally, he addressed concerns to YouTube, urging them to modify their algorithms that recommended videos to children on how to make ghost guns and 3D-printed guns. Furthermore, he joined a collective effort to support a bill that would enable prosecutors to present evidence of defendants’ prior “bad acts” in sex crimes cases more effectively. Bragg’s dedication to these causes highlights his commitment to promoting justice and safety within the community.

The bill drew inspiration from a significant event that took place on April 25th. It was the decision made by the New York Court of Appeals, which resulted in the overturning of former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction.

The office has also made significant announcements, which include indictments related to various cases. These cases range from the murder of a man who was forcefully pushed in front of a subway, sex trafficking, a large-scale retail theft ring, to a well-known landlord who has been accused of harassing his tenants.

According to Florence and Trunfio, in high-profile cases like the Weinstein case and, of course, the Trump case, the prosecutors require the approval of the D.A. It is the D.A.’s name that ultimately appears on the indictment.

According to Trunfio, this is the most significant criminal case witnessed in a century, making it the proverbial elephant in the room.

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