Former US President Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, US February 26, 2022.
Octavio Jones | Reuters
One of two top prosecutors who resigned over the Manhattan district attorney’s alleged decision to stop heading toward indicting former President Donald Trump for crimes said in a bombshell resignation letter that Trump was “guilty of numerous felony violations.”
“The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did,” former prosecutor Mark Pomerantz wrote in his Feb. 23 resignation letter to DA Alvin Bragg, Pomerantz confirmed to CNBC on Thursday.
In that letter, Pomerantz said those felonies related to the “preparation and use of his annual Statements of Financial Condition,” which “were false,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by The New York Times, which first reported its details.
Pomerantz also told Bragg that the DA’s decision not to seek charges against Trump, and to “indefinitely” suspend the 3-year-old probe was “contrary to the public interest.”
“I fear that your decision means that Mr. Trump will not be held fully accountable for his crimes,” Pomerantz wrote.
“I have worked too hard as a lawyer, and for too long, now to become a passive participant in what I believe to be a serious failure of justice. I therefore resign from my position as a Special Assistant District Attorney, effective immediately,” Pomerantz wrote to Bragg.
Pomerantz confirmed the details of the letter in a call with CNBC on Thursday morning but declined further comment, saying “I think the letter speaks for itself.”
Bragg’s spokesperson, Danielle Filson, told CNBC in an email, “the investigation continues. A team of experienced prosecutors is working every day to follow the facts and the law.”
“There is nothing we can or should say at this juncture about an ongoing investigation,” Filson said.
Trump’s lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, told CNBC that he was “surprised” and “disappointed in the letter” from Pomerantz, who is a former law partner of his.
Fischetti said it is his understanding that the criminal probe of Trump is a live investigation within the Manhattan DA’s office. The lawyers said that means there remains a risk of indictment against Trump, despite what Pomerantz’s letter suggests.
“I know from several sources that [Pomerantz] had several meetings with Alvin Bragg and his senior staff, and he laid out exactly what evidence he had against my client, and he was unsuccessful in getting them to go forward with this, and that happens,” Fischetti said.
Fischetti noted that when Pomerantz served as chief of the criminal division of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, he routinely conducted similar reviews of evidence obtained by lower-ranking federal prosecutors to determine if criminal charges were warranted.
“But he’s not the chief anymore. Alvin Bragg’s the chief… and he’s one of the Indians,” Fischetti said.
“I think it’s a fit of pique, a fit of anger” for Pomenrantz to resign in the manner he did, Fischetti said.
Fischetti also said that despite the continued risk that the DA’s office will charge Trump, “I have said, and am continuing to say, that my client is innocent of wrongdoing, and I don’t think he should be charged, and we have told that to the district attorney.
The DA’s office was known to be investigating Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, over whether the company reported different values for the same real estate properties to lower their tax burden and insurance costs and to maximize the value of loans against them, among other things.
New York state Attorney General Letitia James is conducting a civil investigation into the same issues, a probe that was sparked by the congressional testimony of Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, about the use of different valuations for the same properties.
Last summer, the DA’s office obtained a 15-count indictment against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, on charges related to an alleged scheme that since 2005 had illegally avoided taxes on compensation to the CFO and other executives of the company . The defendants have pleaded not guilty in that case.
The resignations of Pomerantz and the other prosecutor, Carey Dunne, last month came less than two months after Bragg took over from Vance, whose investigation among other things had managed to pry years of Trump’s tax returns from his accounts via a grand jury subpoena.
The Times, in first reporting their departures, said they quit after Bragg told them he had doubts about indicting Trump, and after the DA paused the grand jury investigation that would be needed to indict the former president.
Pomerantz’s letter confirms that narrative.
The prosecutor wrote that Bragg had “devoted significant time and energy to understanding the evidence we have accumulated,” but had decided “not to go forward with the grand jury presentation and not to seek criminal charges at the present time.”
While that decision was Bragg’s to make, “a decision made in good faith may nevertheless be wrong,” Pomerantz wrote.
“I believe that your decision not to prosecute Donald Trump now, and on the existing record, is misguided and completely contrary to the public interest.”
Pomerantz also wrote that he did not believe that suspending the probe to await possible future evidence “will lead to a stronger case.”
“On the contrary, I and others believe that your decision not to authorize prosecution now will doom any future prospects that Mr. Trump will be prosecuted for the criminal conduct we have been investigating.”