Former President Donald Trump’s accumulating legal woes may lie in the hands of voters in New York City, where this week’s primary election for mayor, comptroller, and the next district attorney could hint at how much teeth possible future indictments have.
In a CNN editorial on Sunday, Arick Wierson and Bradley Honan noted that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s scheduled retirement later this year will leave an enormous burden on whomever New Yorkers pick to take his place.
Whoever wins the election will be handed a caseload that will include, in all likelihood, the prosecution of the Trump Organization in what could be the most consequential legal case in our nation’s modern history,” the two authors wrote. “For more than two years, the office of Cy Vance Jr., the current Manhattan DA, has been conducting a sprawling investigation into the inner workings of the Trump Organization’s finances stemming in part from hush money payments made to women who said they had extramarital affairs with Trump (which he has denied). The Manhattan DA’s office has also suggested it is looking into allegations that the Trump Organization inflated property values in statements to lenders and insurers while undervaluing assets for tax purposes,” adding that “regardless of who wins the election, the incoming DA will inevitably get swept up in a political and media maelstrom like none other.”
The new DA will have to grapple with one of two unavoidable scenarios: prosecuting a former president of the United States, or deciding whether or not to indict a former president of the United States. And because neither has ever happened before, Vance’s successor’s tenure and legacy could be determined within their first few weeks in office, Wierson and Honan explained:
If Vance’s office charges Trump, members of his family or other Trump Organization executives, the former president and his loyal followers will likely be on the offensive, taking to conservative media to attack the new DA’s record and any perceived political motives. The future DA and case prosecutors could also face security concerns, given the potential ramifications this case could have on Trump and his political future.
If Vance’s office doesn’t bring charges before he leaves office, then it will be left to the incoming DA to make that call, and come January 2022, the new Manhattan DA will be drinking from the fire hose with no time to ease into the job — which suggests that someone with high-level prosecutorial experience might be best positioned to succeed this time around.
Their advice: voters must choose wisely when they head to the polls on Tuesday and in the general election on November 2nd:
With numerous candidates on the ballot, Manhattan voters must choose wisely come Tuesday; whoever ends up winning the Manhattan DA race must not only have the wisdom and moral compass that the role has always required, but ample amounts of strength, fortitude, political smarts and cojones to take on the former president.
It won’t be a walk in Central Park. With crime on the rise, longstanding issues of law enforcement and race on people’s minds, and a host of other issues that come with ensuring that justice is carried out in the most densely populated 23 square miles in America, the case against the Trump Organization will be far from the only item on the next DA’s plate — but it will certainly be the one for which he or she will best be remembered.