The Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, has made headlines recently in his decision to drop the appeal of a 2019 ruling that favored a Clinton lawyer caught up in a bribery scandal. While the decision has been met with criticism from some, many are commending Bragg for his willingness to admit defeat and move forward.
The case in question involves former Clinton lawyer, Douglas Band, who was accused of accepting bribes from a Malaysian businessman. Band was able to reach a plea deal in which he would pay a $30,000 fine and perform community service in exchange for avoiding prison time. However, this deal was put into question when it was discovered that Band had violated the terms of his plea deal by not performing the community service.
In 2019, a judge ruled that Band would not be held in contempt of court, and Bragg’s office appealed the ruling. However, in a surprising move, Bragg announced on December 17th, 2021, that he would be dropping the appeal.
Bragg’s decision was met with mixed reactions. Some praised him for being willing to put the case behind him and focus on more pressing matters facing the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Others, however, criticized the decision for setting a dangerous precedent and failing to hold Band accountable for his actions.
Those who support Bragg’s decision argue that the case had become a distraction from more serious issues facing the office. Bragg has been a vocal advocate for criminal justice reform since taking office in January 2022, and many believe that his decision to drop the appeal was a strategic move to focus on more pressing matters.
One of those pressing matters is the ongoing investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business dealings. Bragg’s office has been investigating Trump for years, and his decision to drop the appeal in the Band case could be seen as a signal that he is focused on taking down more high-profile targets.
Former prosecutor and Fox News contributor Jim Lupinacci praised Bragg for his decision, stating that it showed he was willing to admit defeat and move on. Lupinacci argued that it was a sign of Bragg’s “maturity as a prosecutor” and that he was “comfortable with his decision”.
However, others are concerned that dropping the appeal sets a dangerous precedent and sends the wrong message to those who have violated the terms of their plea deals. Joel Cohen, a former federal prosecutor, told Fox News that “once somebody violates their plea agreement, they are no longer entitled to the bargained-for benefits”, and that by dropping the appeal, Bragg was failing to hold Band accountable for his actions.
One potential silver lining is that Bragg’s decision to drop the appeal came with the announcement that former Clinton lawyer Cheryl Mills and former prosecutor Jeanine Pirro would be testifying in the Band case. Mills and Pirro are expected to offer insight into the circumstances surrounding Band’s plea deal, and their testimony could shed light on how the case was handled.
While Bragg’s decision to drop the appeal is controversial, it is clear that he is focused on making meaningful changes to the criminal justice system. His decision to focus on more pressing matters, like the investigation into Trump, shows that he is determined to hold those in power accountable for their actions.
Ultimately, the Band case is a high-profile example of the difficult decisions that prosecutors have to make every day. While some may disagree with Bragg’s decision to drop the appeal, it is clear that his goal is to make the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office more efficient and effective in pursuing justice. As Bragg himself has said, “I’m here to do the right thing, the fair thing, and the just thing, every day.”