N.Y.’s New Attorney General Is Targeting Trump. Will Judges See a ‘Political Vendetta?’ – The New York Times

N.Y.’s New Attorney General Is Targeting Trump. Will Judges See a ‘Political Vendetta?’ – The New York Times

“Donald Trump’s days of defrauding Americans are coming to an end,” Ms. James said.

Daniel S. Goldman, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice and a former assistant United States attorney in Manhattan, said that it was unlikely that Ms. James’s remarks could directly lead to a dismissal of charges against Mr. Trump, but that they could put cases in jeopardy because of an appearance of “an individualized political vendetta.”

“If there were to be a motion to dismiss because of bias, the attorney general’s office would have to show a stronger factual basis for the legal issue,” Mr. Goldman said. “If there is a close call along the way, it could have an impact on the way a judge rules.”

A similar issue arose in 2015 when Judge Valerie E. Caproni of Federal District Court in Manhattan chided Preet Bharara for publicly criticizing Sheldon Silver, the former New York Assembly speaker, after he was charged with corruption. Mr. Bharara, then the United States attorney in Manhattan, had suggested to reporters that Mr. Silver had “sold his office to line his pockets.”

Mr. Silver asked for the charges to be dismissed. Judge Caproni declined, but said she was “troubled” that Mr. Bharara’s remarks appeared to “bundle together unproven allegations” about Mr. Silver. She warned his office to try the case “in the courtroom and not in the press.”

Mr. Goldman characterized Mr. Trump’s criticism of Ms. James as the right message from the wrong messenger, given how Mr. Trump has used public remarks on Twitter to discredit criminal and civil investigations involving himself, his family and associates.

“Donald Trump is desperately trying to turn everything into a hyperpartisan issue, including criminal justice,” Mr. Goldman said. “It’s essential that prosecutors maintain their neutrality and an objective view of the facts and the evidence, no matter the politics involved.”

In an interview, Ms. James defended her remarks about the president, adding that she believed that her race and gender were shaping what she characterized as assumptions and misconceptions about how she would perform as attorney general.

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