People vs. Donald Trump is a fascinating inside account of the attempt to prosecute former president Donald Trump, written by one of the lawyers who worked on the case and resigned in protest when Manhattan’s district attorney refused to act.
Mark Pomerantz was a retired lawyer living a calm suburban life when he accepted an unexpected offer to join the staff of the district attorney of New York County in February 2021 to work on the investigation of former president Donald Trump. The Manhattan DA was interested in Pomerantz because he brought vast experience in litigating white collar and organized crime cases, having worked as a federal prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney for decades. Pomerantz had prosecuted and defended cases involving murder, drug trafficking, political corruption, tax evasion, and financial fraud. His clients had included governors and senators, business leaders, financial institutions, and also gangsters and murderers.
Over the next year, Pomerantz investigated the world of Donald Trump and the Trump Organization. He interviewed potential witnesses, scrutinized financial records, and learned everything he could about Trump’s business practices. The investigation led him to believe that the former president’s approach to business had much in common with the business practices of another well-known public figure—former mob boss John J. Gotti. Ultimately, Pomerantz gathered enough evidence to support the view—held by many of his colleagues on the case, including former Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.—that former president Donald Trump should be indicted for a number of financial crimes. But that indictment never happened. This book explains why.
Pomerantz’s work ultimately led to the indictment of the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, who pleaded guilty to tax fraud. But that indictment was merely the prelude to a larger criminal case that Pomerantz urged the Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg, to bring against Donald Trump. When the DA refused to authorize that prosecution, Pomerantz and his colleague Carey Dunne resigned. Aspects of the case Pomerantz wanted to bring are currently being pursued against Trump by the attorney general of New York State in a civil fraud case that does not involve criminal penalties.
In People vs. Donald Trump, Pomerantz tells the story of his unprecedented investigation, why he believes Donald Trump should be prosecuted, and what we can learn about the nature of justice in America from this extraordinary case. Pomerantz draws from a lifetime of legal experience to tell a devastating and frequently entertaining story of how prosecutors think, how criminals act, and how our justice system works—and sometimes doesn’t work. Pomerantz has written a cautionary tale that illuminates the challenges of prosecuting Donald Trump, why Trump manages to dance between the raindrops of accountability, and how others might bring him to justice.