Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz, who had been leading the Manhattan District Attorney’s probe of Mr Trump’s business practices, abruptly stepped down on Wednesday, according to sources who spoke to The New York Times.
According to the Times, the two prosecutors tendered their resignations after the city’s new district attorney, Alvin Bragg, indicated that he may not move forward with the case. Mr Bragg has made few public statements about the investigation since he took office last month, and the reasons for his alleged hesitation are unknown.
The Manhattan DA’s office has been investigating whether Mr Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, inflated the value of their assets in order to defraud banks and other lenders. Mr Bragg inherited the investigation from his predecessor, Cyrus Vance, who convened a grand jury to hear the case before he finished his term.
But according to the Times, that jury stopped hearing evidence weeks ago. In late January, prosecutors suddenly postponed their questioning of one witness, one of the Times’ sources said, and no other witnesses have been interviewed in front of the jury since then.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking – the grand jury’s term expires in April – and without Mr Dunne and Mr Pomerantz, the investigation is suddenly rudderless.
New York State’s attorney general, Letitia James, is leading a similar investigation into whether Mr Trump overvalued his assets. That investigation won a major victory last week, when a New York Supreme Court judge ruled that Ms James can question Mr Trump and his adult children under oath.
But there is a crucial difference between Ms James’ investigation and Mr Bragg’s: while the Manhattan DA’s investigation is criminal, the Attorney General’s is civil, meaning it cannot bring charges against Mr Trump. It can only sue him.
Mr Trump has vehemently denied that he ever exaggerated the value of his assets, and has accused both Mr Bragg and Ms James of “prosecutorial misconduct.”
The Independent has reached out to Mr Dunne, Mr Pomerantz, and Mr Bragg for comment.
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