It’s not a dispute. I view it as an act of unseemly egotism on the part of Mark Pomerantz.
Even before extracts from Pomerantz’s new book became chew toys for the news media, I felt what he did publicly after resigning his special prosecutorial position in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office was disgraceful, if not specifically unethical. He openly attacked an elected District Attorney who was his boss.
The news media have been reporting Everything Pomerantz at face value, as if he were right in his judgment about Trump and Bragg were wrong. The only criticism I’ve heard about Pomerantz’s behavior came from Neal Katyal who, asked by Ari Melber to comment, started his comment in a diplomatic yet firm way, by saying he wouldn’t have done what Pomerantz has done, wouldn’t have written a book like this.
I don’t know Pomerantz but I’ve heard his name for decades, because I do know a small contingent of trial lawyers in the same legal family, so to speak, at that level of prominence and acclaim. I’ve lived with them, worked with them and observed them. I’ve also admired and loved them platonically. I know their strengths and their flaws.
Trial lawyers are fearless. Whenever you encounter pundits saying Alvin Bragg, et al., are afraid to prosecute, call them on this. It is bullshit. I’ve never known a trial lawyer who was afraid of anything. (I mean, ask yourself the question, who and what would they be afraid of? I’ve known lawyers to argue with judges, to the extent of being threatened with arrest for contempt.)
Trial lawyers are inventive, thoroughly prepared to be dazzlingly articulate on their feet. I.e., they’re not pulling rabbits out of a hat when they’re in court. They know what they’re talking about. They also know the limits of their cases and represent clients within realistic bounds. They are not wimps; they are not bloviating assholes, either.
Trial lawyers don’t avoid combat but do not court it. You’d probably be surprised to know a lawyer engaged on a case is usually friendly and good-humored with his opponent. Battle is saved for court appearances.
Trial lawyers are competitive even with their friends and partners. I worked mostly for men and don’t know whether women trial lawyers are as rough even with their best lawyer friends as male lawyers are. Male lawyers poke at each other like 7-year-old boys. Sometimes the poking is aggressive enough to make me wince.
But a good lawyer does not publicly denounce another lawyer. Ever. In two separate cases I worked on, a couple of lawyers — one who had previously represented our client and had mishandled one aspect of her case, and co-counsel who had done something egregiously unethical — were dealt with through professional grievance procedures. Behind the scenes, quietly.
Keeping in mind what I wrote above, here is a point about Mark Pomerantz (from Wikipedia):
In April 2021, the Trump Organization hired attorney Ronald Fischetti, who was Pomerantz’s law partner for eight years in the 1980s, to represent the company’s interests with regard to Vance’s investigation. His close familiarity with Pomerantz was regarded as an asset.
Ron Fischetti is another big-time New York lawyer. I sense an impetus in Pomerantz beyond prosecuting Trump. Could he have been raging to go up against his ex-partner in court and, deprived of the opportunity, is furious? See above, re competitiveness.
Now comes an unpleasant little secret I spotted among some of the smart, white, mostly Jewish boys I worked with, a secret I’m sure they don’t recognize in themselves: racism. It lurks there, just under the skin. The louder Pomerantz got in his denunciation of Alvin Bragg, the angrier I became in response.
I voted for Alvin Bragg because of his background, experience and reputation. He is a public servant, my public servant. As a public servant — which Pomerantz is not — Bragg is restrained from any like response to Pomerantz’s attacks. All he can do is explain his decision not to prosecute Trump at that time — although he’s restricted from too much explanation and certainly from the sort of condescending vitriol Pomerantz delivered. A number of times.
I picked up something that corroborates my feeling about Pomerantz’s not-so-latent racism, in a Daily News piece about Pomerantz’s book:
Pomerantz’s book includes excerpts of a withering email he wrote Bragg as the men’s relationship soured…
“Neither Carey nor I are rash, immature, starry-eyed young lawyers,” Pomerantz wrote. “You need to respect our judgment, our decades of experience as prosecutors and defense lawyers, and the work we have put into the case.”
“You need to respect our judgment...”?!! I went ballistic when I read this condescending disrespect to the man who was their boss. I can’t imagine how Bragg manages to keep his cool under this spiteful sort of assault.
Two more points. Where is Carey Dunne, Pomerantz’s partner in this special DA’s assignment? We haven’t heard a word from him — quite properly.
And to get really petty, pissy and elitist, Alvin Bragg got his undergrad degree from Harvard, and his law degree from Harvard. Pomerantz graduated Harvard and got his law degree from Michigan. It’s a fine law school; it isn’t Harvard.