Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman called the indictment of former U.S. President Donald Trump “political and malicious prosecution,” lashing out at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Friday.
Bragg, who was elected to the position in November 2021, brought charges against Trump, who was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury Thursday. The historic indictment, the first against a former United States president, includes 34 Class E felony charges of falsifying business records.
Trump arrived in New York City for his arraignment Tuesday after flying in from his Florida residence, according to multiple outlets. The former president pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday.
Blakeman, the former Nassau County liaison under the Trump administration, said the indictment against the former president is an example of political interference in criminal justice matters.
“I’m not surprised,” Blakeman said about the indictment Friday. “Alvin Bragg has a political agenda.”
Trump, in a statement last week, called the indictment “political persecution” and said it would have an adverse impact on Democrats running in the 2024 general election.
“Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg… is a disgrace,” Trump said in a statement Thursday. “Rather than stopping the unprecedented crime wave taking over New York City, he’s doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries and assaults he should be focused on.”
The charges stem from a $130,000 payment Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, made in 2016 to adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her keeping quiet about an alleged affair she had with Trump. The former president has denied the allegations of the affair.
In 2018 Cohen admitted he transferred money to Daniels less than two weeks before the election in which Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. Cohen previously said the Trump Organization paid him $420,000 over the course of several months following his payments to Daniels.
Joe Tacopina, Trump’s defense lawyer, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week that the former president was “shocked” when he found out about the indictment and that he is “ready to fight.”
“Today the rule of law in the United States died,” Tacopina told Hannity.
Blakeman said that if he were to rush an indictment of a political enemy to Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly, she would “throw me out of her office.”
“I would assume that most district attorneys would do the same thing,” Blakeman said. “They’re not supposed to make decisions based on politics. It’s supposed to be on the law and in this circumstance, every legal scholar that I’ve seen on every media outlet has said pretty much that it’s novel, it’s new and it’s unprecedented.”