January 17, 2022
Prosecutors in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office are leaving in droves after he told them in a "Day One" memo to seek lesser charges or prison time against suspects.
"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."
In his memo, Brigg said the assistant district attorneys should not seek prison sentences for many criminals, and that they were to downgrade some felony charges to misdemeanors. There is already an online petition seeking his removal, and at least a dozen lawyers have quit their jobs in the past two weeks.
Senior trial counsel Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, who prosecuted Harvey Weinstein and won a 2016 conviction in the 1979 murder of Etan Patz, is one of those who have resigned. She is a Republican but has been at the office since 1988, only leaving for a short time when she unsuccessfully ran for district attorney in Staten Island.
John Irwin, a one-time trial division chief, has also resigned, reports The Post, and an unnamed veteran prosecutor left after losing her title and being told she would have to work for a person
Bragg was bringing in from the Legal Aid Society.
"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," a former prosecutor said.
None of the lawyers who are leaving were fired, a source said.
Meanwhile, Madeline Brame, the mother of stabbing victim Hason Correa, told The Post she is worried about what Bragg’s more lenient policies, including not seeking prison sentences of more than 20 years in some cases, will mean in the upcoming trial for one of the men accused of stabbing her son.
The prosecutor in the case left last year, and Brame said she reached out to the replacement who "had no answers for me" when asked if anyone convicted in her son's death would get a sentence of 20 years or less.
Meanwhile, lawyers were also leaving under former DA Cyrus Vance, with 99 departing in 2021, compared to 83 in 2020, but it is not known how many of those retired.
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