Umm not with me… but its more than you’ll see anywhere else.
Happy Friday, gang. I’m here to spoil your weekend.
We all know what the scourge of “Soros prosecutors” is doing to our cities. Chicago, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Baltimore…. they’re all going bad, fast. But rarely do you get a good, long look at one of those responsible. You’re about to.
At present, with his preposterous, 34-count prosecution of Donald Trump, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has likely “ascended” past even Philly’s Larry Krasner as the most consequential, all-in progressive prosecutor.
That’s not a compliment.
This past Wednesday, Mr. Bragg sat for a (little-noticed) Zoom interview with New York City Councilmember Erik Boettcher, which was broadcast live to those who had signed up. I had.
I should start by mentioning that I respect Boettcher — who if anything may be left of Bragg — and the DA himself for doing the interview. This is democracy, and we need more of this sort of thing. At least he’s not hiding, like a certain resident of Pennsylvania Avenue.
But that said, it’s clear from the interview that Bragg and Boettcher are thick as thieves. It couldn’t have been an easier hour if the L.A. Times was questioning Karine Jean-Pierre. Over a case of chardonnay. With Nicole Wallace riding shotgun.
Before I give you the brief, please recall something: Alvin Bragg is in law enforcement. His job is to lock up bad guys.
As the (not-so-old) saying goes, “believe them when they tell you who they are.” And if you want to see what is wrong with our current approach to crime in the cities, here it is. Bragg talks like a social worker with a degree in drum circle conflict resolution — not a prosecutor in what is supposed to be America’s major city, where crime and disorder are steadily depleting the tax base.
13:00: Apparently, the “crime spike” our cities are suffering under is the fault of Covid. How a flu that caused most of the population to stay inside has led to a “nationwide crime increase” (Bragg’s words) and continuing deterioration of street conditions is somehow not explained. (Note that Boettcher carries Bragg’s water on this — feels like they set this part up beforehand).
Bragg then goes on to explain that the index crimes are down for the year, and are “encouragingly going in the right direction.” Right.
The numbers are only down compared to last year — which was when the disintegration of NYC really began to take hold. Does he really think New Yorkers feel this town is going in the right direction?
What Bragg should be comparing to is not last year, but 2019 (the last year before Covid hit). Were he to do that, he’d see that crime in Manhattan for 2023, extrapolated out at the current rate (and we haven’t even hit summer yet), is up for the seven majors nearly 26%. Grand Larceny Auto alone is up over 183%!
(note: crime statistics collated at whitecollarfraud.com)
The numbers indicate, in fact, that using the pre-Covid years, crime is at it’s worst since 2006. That’s 17 years of progress, down the drain.
Bragg then mentions that his data shows that 18% of shoplifters are responsible for 45% of shoplifting. He proudly states, “one-third of them were incarcerated at the end of last year.”
That’s your victory lap? Every tube of toothpaste in every drugstore in this city is behind plexiglass! You think you’re winning?
The truth is, no one is going to jail for shoplifting. And the tell is his, “at the end of last year” caveat. If it’s accurate, even this minor sample of perps was likely back on the street January 1.
14:00: He’s asked about bail reform. I’ll spare you. He simply recounts the basics of the law, but concertedly takes no position. He knows it’s toxic now, so he’s backed away from it — and his ludicrous “Day One Memo” (which Boettcher never asks about).
22:30: The proliferation of illegal marijuana shops in New York is a concern for him due not just to the crime they attract but because of “social equity.” Huh?
Let me unpack that for you. As per the legislature, first dibs on weed shop ownership was supposed to go to those who had been locked up for marijuana in the past. Now, to do time for marijuana in New York State in the past, you would have to have been a major dealer or found in possession of a tractor trailer of the stuff.
But Al is on it! His office has “sent letters” to the illegal shops, “putting them on-notice.”
(To be fair, there isn’t all that much our current criminal justice system can do against the weed shops — the clown car that is the NYS Legislature botched the roll-out that badly) (not that Bragg will ever call them on it — they’re fellow travelers, after all).
30:00: It is on the drug topic that Mr. Bragg begins to sound most like Florence Nightingale. Alluding vaguely to “intervention model successes,” he’s promising “navigators” who will work the streets to meet with and counsel street drug users “mid-to-late summer.”
Memo to Al: Most of the street folks these “navigators” will be encountering will be far too busy screaming at the passing M42 bus and considering their next public defecation to hear one of your Amherst graduates tell them, “I feel you, sir.”
I’ll spare you the rest. As I said up-top, recall something: This guy is supposed to be a prosecutor. He was elected to prosecute crimes.
Watch the video and you tell me if he sees his job the way the rest of us do (hint: no).
Anyway, click here for the entire thing.
The quadruple murder in Moscow, Idaho was back in the news this week, with word that Defense Attorney Anne Taylor has been granted an interview with the one housemate who has thus far not been a real part of the story: Bethany Funke. Let’s set some context.
First: Funke was subpoenaed to go and testify at the Preliminary Hearing scheduled for June 26. She doesn’t want to. That’s the only reason she agreed to the interview. Her lawyers made the calculation that the interview was easier than fighting the subpoena — so they cut this deal.
Second: A Preliminary Hearing is not supposed to be a mini-trial. It is the equivalent of a grand jury, except the judge handles it, not grand jurors. It is a procedure just to double-check that the arrest was good — that the police genuinely had probable cause. It is NOT to determine guilt or innocence (recall that Kohberger has not even entered a plea yet — we haven’t even had the arraignment!).
The judge better get his arms around this. While exculpatory (that is, tending to show innocence) evidence is permitted at most preliminary hearings, not ALL exculpatory is generally permitted. While it varies, in New York the exculpatory that is permitted is that which would serve to fully undermine the indictment.
The point is: the judge should not allow a mini-trial here. This is a supposed to be a relatively routine presentation of evidence, mostly by the prosecution, to show why the police felt they had probable cause.
Third: As such, Funke probably has little to offer (recall that she was asleep on the first floor through the entire event). My gut tells me that the defense is going to try to use some statement she made to the police — or in texting with others following the discovery of the bodies — to develop an alternative theory of the case. As we saw with the Murdaugh case — where the defense attempted to float the idea that some Mexican cartel was responsible — a desperate defense tactic is to charge that the police “had it in” for the accused, rushed to judgment, and ignored evidence of the real perp.
So Bethany may have said she heard a stranger in the house at a time that doesn’t track to Kohberger’s movements, or heard two voices, etc.
From what is known now: Good luck with that. Taylor is likely just trying to make things difficult, so as to get a deal to spare Kohberger the death penalty.
Have a great weekend, all. Chris will be with us tomorrow for a Weekend Buff…. And stay tuned for our next podcast!
Until then… stay safe.
Thanks for reading The Ops Desk!