Together with his main rival, Tali Farhadian Weinstein, conceding, Alvin Bragg is poised to lead the investigation into Donald J. Trump’s family business.
Alvin Bragg, a career prosecutor with experience taking on white-collar crime and corruption, is poised to become Manhattan’s next district attorney, work that will include overseeing probably the most prominent and contentious criminal case in the United States: the prosecution of former President Donald J. Trump’s family business.
Given the overwhelming edge Democrats hold in Manhattan, Mr. Bragg is heavily favored to win the overall election in November after his foremost opponent in the Democratic primary, Tali Farhadian Weinstein, conceded on Friday.
If he wins, Mr. Bragg would instantly take over a high-stakes inquiry that on Thursday yielded a 15-count indictment against the Trump Organization , the Trump family business, and one of its key executives , Allen Weisselberg.
The indictment charged Mr. Weisselberg in a scheme to avoid paying taxes on close to $1. 8 million in benefits and bonuses and the company with profiting from his so-called actions. The charges were the first of what is actually a number of others in the long-running inquiry which will continue steadily to focus on Mr. Trump’s company, as well as the former president himself.
Mr. Weisselberg is under pressure to cooperate with the investigation, but should he win, Mr. Bragg would oversee any trial in the case. Of course, if the investigation into Mr. Trump continues after the tenure of the current district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., ends in January, Mr. Bragg will be in charge.
In an interview, Mr. Bragg acknowledged the highly consequential nature of the investigation into Mr. Trump, but he said he was equally dedicated to other important tasks.
“We’re also talking about the gun-trafficking issues, the scope of the entire system and the collateral consequences, ” that he said. “It’s all a profound responsibility. ”
Mr. Bragg, 47, would be the first Black person to lead an office that still prosecutes more Black people than members of any other racial group. During the campaign, he sought to balance concerns about public safety with a vision for a more equitable criminal justice system.
Ms. Farhadian Weinstein , who trailed Mr. Bragg by three percentage points, had pinned her hopes on tens and thousands of absentee ballots. But as those ballots began to be tallied this week, they showed her lagging behind Mr. Bragg in key districts. On Friday, she ceded the race and congratulated him.
“I spoke with Alvin Bragg earlier in the day today and congratulated him on his historic election as Manhattan’s first Black district attorney, ” she said in a statement. “We had important disagreements throughout the campaign, but I’m confident in Alvin’s commitment to justice, and I stand ready to support him. ”
Lots of Mr. Bragg’s priorities and proposed policies align with those of progressive prosecutors who’ve remade district attorney’s offices around the United States in recent years. But he defied easy classification during the race, explaining the nuances of his positions by referring to his experience growing up in Harlem.
Mr. Bragg’s supporters have said that his racial identity, as well as policies that account for the harm that prosecution can do to communities, was one of the key reasons that they favored him.
Erin E. Murphy, a New York University law professor and a supporter of Mr. Bragg’s, said the combination was important to understanding how he may lead the office.
“When we’re in this moment of racial reckoning, it’s important the leader of the Manhattan D. A. ’s office understands the real concerns about public safety” that exist in communities of color, Professor Murphy said. But, she added, the district attorney should also “understand that law enforcement themselves can be a harm-causing agent in the community as well. ”
Mr. Bragg said repeatedly throughout the campaign he had sued Mr. Trump or his administration a lot more than 100 times during his tenure at the attorney general’s office. He also said he expected to be attacked by Mr. Trump, who said this week that the investigation was a form of “political persecution” being led by “New York radical-left prosecutors. ”
Mr. Vance, who did not seek re-election, is coordinating his efforts with Letitia James, New York’s attorney general.
Preet Bharara, a former United States attorney in Manhattan who supervised Mr. Bragg and endorsed his candidacy, said Mr. Bragg had varied experience as a prosecutor, and that his work on white-collar crime and public corruption cases could come into play in the investigation into Mr. Trump and the case against Mr. Weisselberg and Mr. Trump’s business.
“He are designed for this, ” Mr. Bharara said.
For much of the main, Mr. Bragg was regarded as trailing Ms. Farhadian Weinstein, another former federal prosecutor who also served as counsel to the former U. S. attorney general, Eric Holder, and the Brooklyn district attorney, Eric Gonzalez. She dominated the fund-raising battle, giving her very own campaign $8. 2 million, more than three times as much money as anyone else raised over all, and led in most polls.
But a late resistance to her candidacy grew, in part because of the money she spent on the race. On Primary Day , Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who did not endorse a candidate, discouraged voters from supporting Ms. Farhadian Weinstein during a radio interview, and cited Mr. Bragg and another contender, Tahanie Aboushi, as better choices.
Ms. Farhadian Weinstein said in a brief interview on Friday that she’d continue to be an advocate for issues she focused on throughout the campaign, particularly violence against women, which she said was startlingly common and underreported.
Mr. Bragg will face Thomas Kenniff, the Republican candidate, in November. Mr. Kenniff, a former state prosecutor in Westchester County, N. Y., a part of the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and an Iraq War veteran, has said the Manhattan district attorney should be centered on law and order. In recent weeks, he had begun to attack Ms. Farhadian Weinstein, but has lately switched to criticizing Mr. Bragg.
Mr. Bragg’s campaign was helped by endorsements from several key figures and groups, including Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York; Zephyr Teachout, an activist and former candidate for governor; The New York Times Editorial Board (which is separate from the newsroom) and the political action committees of Planned Parenthood and Color of Change. Color of Change’s committee pledged $1 million to Mr. Bragg and spent close to $500, 0000.
Mr. Bragg made inroads with some unlikely allies, often through his willingness to hear and incorporate others’ positions. He impressed Five Boro Defenders, a public defenders group, enough that the group invited him to a “decarceral debate” in February where candidates were asked to describe how their policies would help cut down on the number of people incarcerated in prisons and jails.
“He was always the traditional prosecutor that probably fit most squarely in to that progressive prosecutor peg and not necessarily into a decarceral peg, ” said Amanda Jack, a member of the group. “But the consensus among us was that he was just really willing to listen and learn in the interview. ”
Ms. Teachout said Mr. Bragg’s willingness to learn was exemplified in a memo that he prepared to walk potential supporters through his plans for the office and that led her to endorse him. She called it “a really significant document. ”
The memo put Mr. Bragg’s priorities front and center. In it, that he pledged to form new units to hold police accountable also to review the office’s past convictions, to provide more resources to bureaus that investigate white-collar crime and to stop tying success within work to conviction rates.
“The need for reform in our office’s policies and practices is urgent, ” the document concluded. “It is critical that the changes described in this memorandum take effect immediately. ”
Mr. Bragg, a lifelong resident of Harlem, said he was moved to pursue a vocation in law by his experiences growing up, including several encounters in which a gun was held to his head by both civilians and police officers. He attended Harvard and Harvard Law School, clerked for the federal judge Robert Patterson Jr. , worked as a civil rights lawyer and later became a prosecutor, first in the brand new York attorney general’s office and later in the Southern District in Manhattan.
When he returned to the attorney general’s office in 2013, he light emitting diode an unit charged with investigating police killings of unarmed civilians and eventually rose to become a chief deputy attorney general.
His classmates noted his potential when he was an undergraduate. A lengthy 1995 profile in The Harvard Crimson reported his having said he was unlikely to run for office. The paper was unconvinced. “Whatever he does sooner or later, today there is a definite sense of the anointed about him, ” it said.