Former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who began the investigation that led to Donald Trump’s indictment, condemned the former president’s attacks against his successor Sunday and warned that another criminal offense could “change the jury’s mind about the severity of the case.”
In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Vance said, “I’ve got to say that I was disturbed to hear the former president speak in the way he spoke about the district attorney, [Alvin] Bragg, and even the trial court in the past week.”
Trump has escalated his rhetoric against Bragg’s probe connected to a hush money payment he is alleged to have paid to cover up affairs during the 2016 presidential campaign. He has denied having had affairs and any wrongdoing, alleging that the prosecution is engaged in a political witch hunt. He also warned of “potential death and destruction” if he were charged.
In a post last month on his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump called Bragg an “animal” backed by the liberal megadonor George Soros, who is Jewish. He also appears to have shared an article that featured an image of him wielding a baseball bat placed next to an image of Bragg’s head. The post has been deleted.
Vance, who left the Manhattan DA’s office at the end of 2021, suggested that Trump could face further legal backlash if he continues to attacks Bragg and the judicial system, which he says could sway the jury.
“And I think if I were his lawyer — and believe me, no one has called up to ask for my advice — I would be mindful of not committing some other criminal offense like obstruction of governmental administration, which is interfering with or by threat or otherwise the operation of government,” Vance said.
“And I think that could take what perhaps we think is not the strongest case — when you add a count like that, put it in front of a jury, it can change the jury’s mind about the severity of the case that they’re looking at,” he added.
Trump could also risk other legal charges by threatening the prosecutor under New York law, or the judge presiding over the arraignment could issue a gag order to prevent him from speaking further about the case.
Laura Jarrett contributed.