FACT FOCUS: Manhattan DA’s record distorted amid Trump case
Ahead of former President Donald Trump’s expected booking and arraignment in New York City on Tuesday, social media users are accusing Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, of having poor prosecutorial judgment in other cases.
But some posts distort Bragg’s decisions, from falsely accusing him of ignoring a case his office is prosecuting to misleadingly suggesting he should investigate a case outside his jurisdiction.
Here’s a closer look at the facts.
CLAIM: News footage about the unprovoked and deadly shooting of a man on the New York City subway in May 2022 provides an example of the “real crime in Manhattan” that Bragg should be prosecuting.
THE FACTS: The Manhattan DA’s office is prosecuting the suspect in this case, according to records and communications from Bragg’s office.
Bragg announced in June 2022 that a grand jury had indicted the suspect, Andrew Abdullah, on murder and weapon possession charges after he allegedly killed 48-year-old Daniel Enriquez aboard a Manhattan-bound Q subway train the previous month.
Court and inmate records show the 26-year-old Abdullah is being held without bail in a prison ward at Bellevue Hospital, with a court appearance expected on April 12.
The misleading claim spread across Twitter over the weekend after Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican, tweeted news coverage of the shooting.
“Heartbreaking!” Greene tweeted Saturday. “Shame on Alvin Bragg for being not prosecuting real crime in Manhattan!”
Redmond Haskins, a spokesperson for the Legal Aid Society, a nonprofit-public defender organization, confirmed Abdullah remains held in custody on the murder charge. He declined to comment further.
CLAIM: Bragg is charging a New York City parking garage attendant for attempted murder after he shot an alleged armed robber.
THE FACTS: Bragg’s office isn’t prosecuting Moussa Diarra, a Manhattan DA spokesperson and Diarra’s lawyer confirmed to the AP.
Charles Clayman, Diarra’s lawyer, said video of the altercation was eventually located and sent to the DA’s office, clearing his client of wrongdoing.
“There’s no attempted murder charges and there never will be because my client was the hero and the victim, not the perpetrator,” he said by phone. “That’s the whole story.”
But that didn’t stop social media users from spreading false claims about the incident.
“New York City is a Joke: Manhattan Prosecutors Charge Victim of Assault With Attempted Murder,” wrote one Twitter user in a post that was liked or shared more than 12,000 times as of Monday.
The shooting happened early Saturday morning when Diarra confronted a suspected thief in the parking garage where he worked, which is in midtown Manhattan.
Charles Rhodie, 59, shot the 57-year-old twice before Diarra was able to wrestle the handgun free and fire back, according to police. Both were hospitalized and initially charged with attempted murder, assault and gun possession.
Rhodie was also charged with burglary. It’s not clear what charges he’ll ultimately face or whether he still remains hospitalized. Spokespersons for police and Bragg’s office didn’t respond to follow up questions and a lawyer for Rhodie couldn’t be identified.
CLAIM: Bragg should investigate surveillance footage showing several male suspects beating and robbing a female victim in New York City.
THE FACTS: This March 2020 attack happened in Crown Heights, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, outside Bragg’s jurisdiction.
The 15-year-old said she was walking home when a group of males approached her and started to punch her and kick her, police said. The suspects fled with her sneakers and a cellphone.
In New York City, each of the five boroughs has its own top prosecutor, who oversees criminal prosecutions in that borough. This crime fell into the Brooklyn district attorney’s jurisdiction, Brooklyn DA spokesperson Helen Peterson said in an email.
The attack occurred in March 2020, nearly a year before Bragg entered office as Manhattan’s first Black district attorney in January 2021.
Twelve underage defendants in the case went to family court, Peterson said. A thirteenth defendant pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to six months in jail.
Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak in New York contributed to this report.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.