Crimefighter exodus: Manhattan prosecutors flee DA office after Marxist Bragg takes helm

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Leroy N. Soetoro

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Jan 18, 2022, 4:06:23 PMJan 18
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https://nypost.com/2022/01/15/prosecutcrimefighter-exodus-manhattan-
prosecutors-flee-da-office-after-bragg-takes-helmors-leave-manhattan-das-
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Prosecutors in soft-on-crime Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s
office are flooding the exits amid his “radical shift in policy,” The Post
has learned.

Bragg’s controversial “Day One” memo issued on Jan. 3 told assistant
district attorneys to not seek prison sentences for many criminals and to
downgrade some felonies to misdemeanors. His leadership has already
created a firestorm that has led to an online petition calling for him to
be removed.

“I know one [ADA] who was with the office over 20 years who left without a
job,” said a law enforcement source. “They didn’t want to work in this
kind of office. They wanted to continue prosecuting the law.”

Over the past two weeks, at least a dozen lawyers have quit.

Among the departures is senior trial counsel Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, who
successfully prosecuted Harvey Weinstein, and won a 2016 conviction in the
infamous 1979 murder of Etan Patz.

Illuzzi-Orbon, a Republican, had been at the office since 1988, taking
only a brief leave in 2015 for an unsuccessful run for District Attorney
in Staten Island.

Friday was her last day, sources told The Post. She did not return a
request for comment.

Also gone is John Irwin, a one-time trial division chief.

Another veteran prosecutor lost her title and was told she would have to
work for someone Bragg brought over from the Legal Aid Society, a source
said.

“He wants to get rid of all the senior people who prosecuted high-profile
cases and replace them with young inexperienced people who think like him
and don’t want to uphold the law,” said a former prosecutor.

A source familiar with the office said none of the departing lawyers had
been fired.

Mark Bederow, who worked in the Manhattan DA’s office, said some turnover
was to be expected with a new boss, but that Bragg’s arrival will “likely”
lead to more departures since “It appears to be such a cultural and
radical shift in policy.”

“I would anticipate that many people within the office who have been there
for years, who perhaps do not share the same philosophy as the incoming
DA, will most likely leave,” he said. “I would expect that the incoming
classes of DAs in the next couple of years will entirely share the
policies of Mr. Bragg.”

Bederow said the turnover would lead to “transformation in the Manhattan
DA’s office unlike anything anyone has seen for decades.”

Madeline Brame, the mother of murder victim Hason Correa, said she was
worried about what Bragg’s policies — which include not seeking prison
sentences of more than 20 years in most cases — would mean for the
upcoming trail of her son’s accused killers. Correa, a 35-year-old Army
vet, was stabbed to death in Harlem in 2018.

Brame said the prosecutor in the case left last year and she recently
reached out to her replacement because she was feeling “Tortured,
tormented, stressed out and frustrated not knowing now are these people
only going to (get) 20 years for killing my boy.”

“He had no answers for me. None,” she said.

Under DA Cyrus Vance Jr., 99 lawyers left last year, up from 83 in 2020.
It is unknown how many of those retired.

“Alvin Bragg has brought together an exceptional group of highly
experienced professionals, including leaders who have worked in this
office, led other offices, and bring real life experiences to help
reimagine DANY to deliver safety and justice for all,” said Richard Fife,
senior advisor to Bragg.


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