The Billion-Dollar Trump-Wall Street Mystery

Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
April 6, 2022

Back in February, Wall Street and the legal bar experienced a collective shock wave of disbelief when Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne suddenly resigned, and, it seemed, in a huff. You may recall that former Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance hired Pomerantz, a revered prosecutor, last May as a “special assistant district attorney” to work with Dunne, Vance’s general counsel, to oversee the Manhattan D.A.’s criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s business practices. Vance, Pomerantz and Dunne were studying whether Trump had feloniously misled banks (in order to obtain loans) and taxing authorities (in order to evade taxes). The plot thickened, shortly thereafter, when The New York Times published Pomerantz’s resignation letter to Alvin Bragg, Vance’s successor as district attorney. It was a stunner, especially given the normally staid world of the white-shoe bar.

The resignations and the steamy resignation letter were prompted by Bragg’s surprising decision, six weeks after taking office, to pretty much drop the grand jury investigation into Trump and, with it, the possibility that his office would even try to prosecute the former president. Since then, Wall Street has been trying to figure out if Bragg really lost all confidence in his office’s ability to prosecute Trump successfully. Did he not want a political headache? Was this some weird belt-tightening exercise? Or did he simply think a case was a waste of time?