Paralegals and Young Staff Face Intense Questioning in Trump Case

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Politicians who choose to spend hours sitting in a courtroom with former President Donald Trump often show up to his criminal trial in New York with him.

They are sitting in the first two rows of the court on Trump’s side, which is only for his team. One of the seats in the same section is usually empty for the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, who has decided to do other work during the trial. He is on the prosecution’s side.

Bragg has gone to some parts of the proceedings, mostly on days when his own staff, including young paralegals, are called to appear as custodial witnesses and then grilled by the defense.

“Bragg is doing it the right way,” said Domenic Trunfio, a law professor at Syracuse University.

Trunfio was in charge of the Onandaga County district attorney’s office in Syracuse for almost twenty years. The office served a population of about 500,000 people, which is about a third of Manhattan’s size. He said it was important for Bragg to be there for his team.

“It shows help.” It says, “Hi, I’m here.” I know that you are going to testify against the past US president. He added, “And I’m here for you.”

This happened when Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche questioned paralegal Georgia Longstreet about whether she knew for sure how X (formerly Twitter) or Trump’s Truth Social network added timestamps to social media posts or could say for sure who Trump was talking about when he wrote, “If you go after me, I’ll go after you!”

“I have my ideas, but no,” Longstreet said while sitting about 10 feet away from Trump.

He also saw Emil Bove, another Trump lawyer, ask Jaden Jarmel-Schneider, an assistant if making charts of phone calls was “tedious” work.

“To be honest, I kind of liked it,” Jarmel-Schneider said, which made everyone in the hall laugh.

“I hear you. No problem, Bove responded.

For this story, a spokesperson for Bragg refused to say anything.

Trump has said he is not guilty of the 34 crime counts of falsifying business records that were brought against him. The papers were supposedly meant to hide “hush money” payments that Trump made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016. Daniels agreed not to talk about a sexual encounter that Trump rejected.

Diana Florence, who worked for Bragg’s two predecessors, says that even that level of attendance is very unusual for a Manhattan D.A. Bragg has been there for parts of about one-third of the three weeks of the trial.

“In my 25-year career, where I did a lot of high profile cases, the D.A. came to my summations a couple of times and to opening statements a couple of times,” she said. “But generally speaking, that wasn’t really something they would do.”

Florence said that D.A.s are usually too busy with other parts of their job to watch trials. For example, they might be pushing for laws that affect law enforcement or their office, or they might be looking over other big cases that are going to grand juries.

In the past month, Bragg has done both. Among other things, he pushed for an update to New York’s hate crimes laws that was included in the state’s budget for fiscal year 2025. He also sent a letter to YouTube asking them to change the way they suggest videos to kids about how to make ghost guns and 3D-printed guns, and he joined a push for a bill that would make it easier for prosecutors to use evidence of defendants’ past “bad acts” in sex crimes cases.

The bill was sparked by the April 25 ruling by the New York Court of Appeals to throw out Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction.

Also, his office has announced big indictments, such as one for the murder of a man who was pushed in front of a subway car, sex trafficking, a large-scale retail theft ring, and a notorious landlord who is accused of bothering his tenants.

They said that attorneys need the D.A.’s support for big cases like those, as well as the Weinstein case and, of course, the Trump case. In the end, his name is on the charge.

“The elephant in the room here is this is the biggest criminal case that anybody has seen in a century,” he said.

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