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Former prosecutor says Manhattan DA could have charged Trump with multiple crimes

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Our guest today, Mark Pomerantz, has written an insider's account of the year he and others at the Manhattan district attorney's office spent on a criminal investigation of Donald Trump's finances and business practices. Pomerantz was a retired prosecutor and lawyer in December 2020 when he was invited to join then DA Cyrus Vance's team looking into Trump. In his book, Pomerantz calls the investigation the legal equivalent of a plane crash where the principal cause was pilot error.

At the end of 2021, as District Attorney Vance approached retirement, Pomerantz felt the team had sufficient evidence to file felony charges against Trump. But the newly elected district attorney, Alvin Bragg, wasn't ready to proceed with charges. So Pomerantz and another senior attorney resigned. Their departures made news. And Pomerantz wrote in his resignation letter that not bringing a case against Trump was a grave failure of justice.

His new book is a fascinating look at Trump's financial manipulations and the hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels and prosecutors' consideration of whether they amounted to crimes provable in court. Pomerantz's book has generated controversy. District Attorney Bragg has said that Pomerantz violated his obligation not to disclose information about the investigation without written permission. And Bragg implied that the book has damaged the ongoing investigation. Meanwhile, it's been reported that the DA's office has recently been presenting evidence to a grand jury about the Stormy Daniels payment, indicating that the office may now be considering criminal charges against Trump.

Mark Pomerantz's legal career includes a clerkship at the United States Supreme Court, stints as prosecutor and as chief of the criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office for the southern district of New York and many years of criminal defense work. His new book is "People Vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account." Mark Pomerantz, welcome to FRESH AIR.

MARK POMERANTZ: Thank you so much. I'm glad to be here.

DAVIES: All right. So let's talk about the evidence that you looked at and how you considered whether to proceed with charges. You know, not everything that is shady or dishonest is a crime. And a lot of what you were doing - you and the others were looking at Donald Trump's conduct and assessing whether it was a crime, and not just a crime, but a crime that you could charge and win a conviction of.

One of the examples that people probably know pretty well is the $130,000 hush money payment made to Stephanie Clifford, the adult film star known as Stormy Daniels. That was paid by Michael Cohen. He was ultimately reimbursed by Trump through payments that were falsely described as, I guess, legal fees. You know, paying hush money itself is not a crime, I learn in your book.

POMERANTZ: That's correct.

DAVIES: When you looked at the payments to her, what did you conclude about whether you could charge a criminal offense?

POMERANTZ: Well, when we looked carefully at the details, what we saw was that Cohen, with Trump's blessing, had paid Stormy Daniels out of his own money, Trump agreed to reimburse him, and the mechanics of the reimbursement certainly caught a lot of attention. Cohen submitted phony invoices for, quote, "legal services rendered pursuant to a monthly retainer agreement," but there was no monthly retainer agreement. The money wasn't for legal services. That's how the payments were documented. And so the documentation of the reimbursement involved the creation of false business records, which is a crime under New York law.

DAVIES: Right. But maybe just a misdemeanor.

POMERANTZ: Maybe just a misdemeanor. It becomes a felony - the crime of falsifying business records becomes a felony if it's done with the intent to commit or conceal, quote, "another crime," close quote. That's the statutory language. When we looked at that conduct, it was early in the investigation, and we put the charges to one side until we could do more work to investigate more serious long-standing and substantial crimes. And that brought us to a study of Donald Trump's financial statements.

DAVIES: Right. So you did spend a lot of time on financial statements of the many, many businesses that were a part of the Trump organization. And it's interesting to me that that you ended up doing a lot of the scutwork. I mean, you spent hours and hours at home - this, a lot of this, was during the pandemic - going over these detailed financial records, the kind of thing that you would think might be assigned to, you know, maybe a junior partner at a firm or a paralegal. Why did you, this senior attorney, take that on?

POMERANTZ: You know, I found myself asking myself that question. But it had to be done. I thought it was important. I thought it was essential, no matter who did the work in the first instance, that I had to understand the details. And as I got into it, I just kept being drawn further into it. I spent hours and hours and hours studying the financial statements, the accounting records and backup for the valuations that were reflected on the financial statements. And every time I spent an hour looking at that, more things would emerge.

DAVIES: Right. And just to get a sense of the scale of the challenge here, I mean, these are statements of financial condition for each of - what? - scores of different entities that the Trump organization owned. There's one every year. And in addition to the statements themselves, you had other material to look at, including stuff developed by, I guess, the state attorney general's office. So there was a lot to check to look at what these things amounted to.

You know, you would say at the end of the book that when others were reluctant to proceed with charges against Trump, they hadn't gone through this process. They didn't see, you know, what was really at work here. It took time to get into it and grasp the import of it. Let's take an example or two of these statements and what they told us about Trump's practices. Do you want to pick one?

POMERANTZ: Yeah. One pretty straightforward example has to do with the triplex penthouse apartment that Trump had on the top of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. In the years 2015 and 2016, the value he assigned to that apartment for financial statement purposes was $327 million. And he reached that, among other things, by saying, well, this apartment contains 30,000 square feet. And let's put aside for the moment the price per square foot that was used, although that was inflated as well. But the notion that the apartment should be valued on the basis that it contains 30,000 square feet fell apart when it became clear the apartment doesn't have 30,000 square feet, it has 11,000 square feet.

So for financial statement purposes, the value of the apartment was tripled by simply saying it had 30,000 square feet when it didn't. The value of the apartment was vastly overstated. Now, did Trump know that the apartment had only 11,000 square feet and not 30,000 square feet? Was he responsible for telling people that the apartment had 30,000 square feet? Well, we spoke to witnesses who heard him say, in fact, right at this time, that the apartment has 33,000 square feet, even more than the square footage that was used in the financial statements. And if the question is, does Donald Trump know the difference between a 30,000 square foot apartment and an 11,000 square foot apartment, consider the facts that it was his business to buy and sell apartments. He built the building that contained this apartment. He looked after the renovation of this apartment. He has proclaimed himself a real estate guru, and he lived in the apartment. So the notion that it was an innocent mistaken overstatement is just not one that I think people should accept.

DAVIES: All right. And $327 million - that's an awfully big number for any apartment, isn't it?

POMERANTZ: Well, $327 million is not only a value that exceeds the price that has been ever paid for any apartment in New York City to this date, it's a number that is larger than the price that has ever been paid for a private residence in the history of the United States, ever. In fact, $327 million for a single residence would put it on the list of the highest prices ever paid or ever valued for a private residence, including such properties as the Taj Mahal and Buckingham Palace. So, you know, it's a nice apartment, but $327 million? I don't think so. Our experts looked at the apartment and valued it in the neighborhood of $55- to $60 million, being charitable with respect to its possible value.

DAVIES: So here's a case where Trump takes his own house and kind of overestimates its value by roughly five or six times. Give us one more, one of the golf courses he owned or one of the properties that he owned.

POMERANTZ: Well, another easy example is his golf course in Jupiter, which he bought at the end of 2013, I believe, for $5 million. It was valued as of June 30, 2014 - so that's about seven months later - it was valued in connection with his financial statements at over $60 million. He had bought the golf course only a few months earlier and had paid $5 million in cash. So how do you get from $5 million to $62 million when no substantial changes or building or redesign or anything much had happened to the golf course in the several months between when he bought it and when it was valued on his financial statements? When we looked at the accounting backup in detail, we saw that Trump had - when he bought the property, he had also inherited some liabilities to members. There were circumstances in which he would potentially have to pay back their membership deposits, and there was about $41 million worth of potential refund obligations. And so he added that to the $5 million.

But the problem was, he had also said in the financial statements that for liability purposes, those liabilities were unlikely to be repaid. There'd always be new members, so they would be valued at zero. Well, he valued them at zero on the liability side, but he valued them at $41 million on the asset side. You can't do that. And on top of that, he added another 30% for the so-called brand value of the fact that his name was now on the golf course. Again, whether or not that's appropriate in some circumstances is beside the point because the financial statement said we're not including brand value in the values that are reflected on this statement. So again, that value was misleading.

DAVIES: Let me reintroduce you. We're going to take a break here. We're speaking with Mark Pomerantz. He worked as a special assistant district attorney in Manhattan investigating Donald Trump's finances. His new book is "People Vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account." We'll continue our conversation in just a moment. This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF AMY RIGBY'S "PLAYING PITTSBURGH")

DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR. And we're speaking with Mark Pomerantz. He's a veteran prosecutor and defense attorney who spent a year as a special assistant district attorney in Manhattan helping lead a criminal investigation of Donald Trump's finances.

Well, Mark Pomerantz, you've described cases in which Donald Trump on official statements of financial conditions, which are filed for the many, many different entities he owns, you know, properties and the Miss Universe pageant and all kinds of other things, and the values of those assets are drastically overstated. This is what you discovered by looking carefully at all of this detailed financial information. OK. So Trump wants to puff himself up and seem like he's richer than he is. What's the import of this? What - how did he benefit from overestimating his assets so fabulously?

POMERANTZ: What we learned - and when I say we, I should include the staff of the New York attorney general, which had been conducting a parallel civil investigation and which discovered many of the same facts and indeed discovered many of these facts before the DA's office learned them. And they were extremely helpful in allowing our criminal investigation to go forward. But what emerged from the investigation was that the financial statements were used in a variety of contexts. But the one context in which they were used that most directly led to criminal liability was the fact that the statements were given to banks in connection with applications for loans, in connection with a loan that The Trump Organization got to purchase the Doral Golf Resort near Miami, in connection with the creation of a luxury hotel at the old post office property in Washington, D.C., and a refinancing of Trump's property in Chicago.

In each case, The Trump Organization asked for financing in the amount of millions - hundreds of millions of dollars. And in each case, the bank required that Donald Trump personally guarantee the loans. And Trump was willing to guarantee the loans, but the bank insisted in connection with those guarantees. And this is standard practice in the industry and certainly for this portion of the bank's operations. The bank insisted on not only a guarantee but the submission of a personal financial statement. The bank required as a condition of making the loan and accepting the guarantee that Donald Trump verify that the financial statements he supplied to the bank were true and accurate in all material respects and that they accurately reflected his financial condition. And they didn't. They overstated his net worth. They overstated the value of his assets by literally billions of dollars. For each year that he submitted personal financial statements to the bank - and the bank required them to be updated annually - the financial statements were massively inflated. And that's a crime.

DAVIES: All right. So he's overstating his assets by billions as he's applying for loans. And that matters to banks because that's the collateral, right? That's - they're relying on him having those resources in case he runs into financial problems repaying the loan. Is there any chance that he could say, look, you know, I trusted accountants. I mean, I didn't make this stuff up. I mean, you actually got some information about his own process in developing some of these numbers, didn't you?

POMERANTZ: We did. And if a charge had been brought or if a charge should be brought, and certainly in the context of the pending civil case, Donald Trump will certainly say, I relied on accountants; I relied on the people around me. And to be sure, we looked for and got evidence reflecting his personal involvement and responsibility for the financial statements. We developed evidence that he had been involved in providing the values for particular assets to the people in the Trump Organization whose job it was to compile these numbers.

They were, of course, assets that he spent his lifetime building and acquiring. He cared deeply about his net worth. And we had evidence that he had a history of exaggerating and indeed lying and misleading people about his net worth and the value of his assets. And bear in mind, each financial statement indicated that he, Donald Trump, was responsible for the preparation of the financial statements, responsible for the numbers that they contained. They're his assets. The financial statements were used for his benefit. They were prepared by people who worked for him and who followed his directions. And so we thought the circumstances made out a pretty compelling case that he was indeed personally responsible for the misstatements.

And on top of all the paper and the circumstances and the facts surrounding the valuation of particular properties, Michael Cohen also told us, as he had told Congress some years earlier, that he had been in the room with Donald Trump and with the CFO, Allen Weisselberg, when the financial statements were prepared. And he knew that the process included Trump saying, in effect, this is what I need to be worth. Now go out, and come back with values of the properties that add up to what I need to be worth. And so the valuations that were put on individual properties were, in effect, reverse engineered to meet the target that Trump had set forth for his net worth. And so that had all the trappings of criminal conduct.

DAVIES: Right. You know, it's clear that there was a financial benefit in getting financing and the rates at which he would get financing if he could claim assets far in excess of his real worth. But this was also a matter of kind of personal pride in - you know, for Trump, wasn't it? I mean, he would talk to journalists about this. You would talk to some journalists in the course of the investigation who discovered that he was overstating what he owned, right?

POMERANTZ: Well, we did. We spoke to several journalists, both a journalist who had dealt with Donald Trump at the relative beginning of Trump's career as a businessperson, who gave us, among other things, tape recordings of Donald Trump posing as a subordinate in the Trump Organization. He called himself John Barron. And he told the analyst - on tapes, which we were given - that the value of Trump's assets reached certain amounts. He told the journalist that his father had transferred ownership of certain assets from father to son, which turned out not to be true.

We spoke to journalists who had dealt with Trump over the years more recently, who told us, among other things, that Trump had admitted, at one point, misstating or exaggerating his finances, in his financial statements. And at one point, Trump even acknowledged that inflated net worth, high net worth was, quote, "good for financing." So when you put all the proof together, we thought we had a compelling picture of what had happened, and what had happened was criminal conduct.

DAVIES: Let's take a break here. I'm going to reintroduce you. We are speaking with Mark Pomerantz. He worked as a special assistant district attorney in Manhattan investigating Donald Trump's finances and business practices. His new book is "People Vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account." He'll be back to talk more after this short break. I'm Dave Davies, and this is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. We're speaking with Mark Pomerantz, a veteran prosecutor and defense attorney who spent a year as a special assistant district attorney in Manhattan, helping lead a criminal investigation of Donald Trump's finances. When the newly elected DA declined to proceed with charges against Trump, Pomerantz and another senior attorney resigned. Pomerantz's new book about the investigation is "People Vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account."

You felt, as you proceeded with this and got so immersed in Donald Trump's - particularly his financial statements, which, you know, dozens - scores of them showed him drastically overstating their value, which he would then use in securing loans. You thought that there was a clear case for felony charges. Others involved in the investigation, particularly some of the career prosecutors in the DA's office, were reluctant. And they raised issues, which you acknowledge in - were real issues. And I thought we'd talk about some of them. One of them is, you know, that in a complicated white-collar case, it's complicated. You can hear that from our conversation. It's a little complicated. And it's helpful to have a narrator for the jury. In this case, it probably would have been Michael Cohen, you know, Trump's longtime attorney, who, you know, eventually pleaded guilty to certain crimes and then turned against Trump. Not the best guy. I mean, you've spent a lot of time, both as a defense attorney and a prosecutor, dealing with cooperators who had a shady history.

You met Michael Cohen. You said he struck you as smart, manipulative, as a somewhat feral creature. Meaning what? Give us your take on Michael Cohen.

POMERANTZ: Well, he is very smart. He is somewhat manipulative. He certainly has an ax to grind with respect to Donald Trump. But he also is able to separate fact from fiction. And he is a witness, certainly with liabilities. Look; you start with the fact that he pleaded guilty to perjury. That was one of the offenses for which he was convicted. And a prior perjury conviction is not high up on the list of qualities you hope to see in a potential prosecution witness, obviously. But I thought he was responsive. He had a pretty good memory. He was in the room. He had firsthand accounts to provide. And he would have been, potentially, a valuable witness.

Now, as the investigation progressed, there was so much evidence of overvaluation in the financial statements that it was not a foregone conclusion that Michael Cohen would have been a necessary trial witness had we indicted the case and gone forward. That's a kind of game-time decision that prosecutors make when they get ready to try a case. But it is true that I thought he could add something to the prosecution's case and provide perhaps a skeleton on which we would pack all of the other proof and the documents and the complications and the valuations that we were able to prove.

DAVIES: Another potential weakness of the case, it was argued, was that, we don't have a victim here, a clear victim. I mean, yeah, so let's say Trump, you know, overstated his finances. You know, he bragged and got bank loans from Deutsche Bank and other places. But, you know, if he paid back the money, they're not - you know, they weren't really swindled out of millions of dollars. No victim - is there a crime?

POMERANTZ: Well, that's right. You know, you worry that the argument will be made, in effect, no harm, no foul. But that's not a valid argument, legally speaking. You cannot lie to banks. You can't give banks false business records. You can't overstate the value of your assets in connection with a loan application, even if you repay the loan. And the law is crystal clear that repaying property, repaying a loan that you've obtained by fraud doesn't do away with the crime. It's still a crime.

Now, it's still a crime, but you do worry, of course, that the impact on a jury will be less if you don't have a flesh-and-blood victim who has been cheated out of hundreds of millions of dollars. Now, ironically, there were many, many people who did business with Donald Trump who were cheated and who were - contractors who weren't paid for their work, suppliers who weren't paid for their work. But with respect to those folks, we couldn't prove that they were relying on Trump's financial statements. So for legal purposes, they didn't count for us as victims. We had banks who were entitled to get accurate financial statements, and under the law, it's no defense that the loans that were obtained by fraud were repaid.

DAVIES: Right. And you did talk to executives from Deutsche Bank who said, yes, we relied upon these financial statements, and it would have affected our decision had we known that they were drastically overvalued.

POMERANTZ: Well, that's exactly right. You know, I think any legitimate banker would tell you, we rely on financial statements in connection with loan applications. We assume that they're prepared in good faith. And if we were to learn that they were prepared intentionally to misstate somebody's assets, intentionally to overstate their assets and net worth, and it was done continuously, and it was done in large amounts, we would not do business with that person. And that's what we were told.

DAVIES: We're going to take a break here. Let me reintroduce you. We are speaking with Mark Pomerantz. He worked as a special assistant district attorney in Manhattan investigating Donald Trump's finances. His new book is "People Vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account." We'll continue our conversation after this break. This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF JULIAN LAGE'S "IOWA TAKEN")

DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR. And we're speaking with Mark Pomerantz. He's a veteran prosecutor and defense attorney who spent a year as a special assistant district attorney in Manhattan, helping lead a criminal investigation of Donald Trump's finances. His new book is "People Vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account."

Well, as this investigation progressed and you became convinced that felony charges against Donald Trump were merited, this circumstance arose in which the district attorney, Cyrus Vance, was approaching the end of his term. He and you and Carrie Dunn, who was the other senior attorney that you worked so closely with, became convinced that you should go ahead and proceed with charges.

However, you weren't going to get it done during Vance's term. And there was a new district attorney, Alvin Bragg. He had won a Democratic primary early in the year and, as of January 2022, was going to be the new DA. So he needed to be on board if this was going to happen. In the end, he wasn't. You have a very long, detailed description of the back-and-forth between him and other lawyers in the attorney. Why, in the end, do you think Alvin Bragg - why do you think, in the end, did Alvin Bragg decide not to proceed at least immediately with these charges?

POMERANTZ: Well, that's difficult to say. And I cannot give you an authoritative answer because we did not have a detailed discussion. We did not have a sit down where Alvin went through his reasons and the process by which he made his decision. So that's a question that I really can't answer. I believe that the concern was with the strength of the case and with the likelihood that we would prevail if we brought it. And, look; I am not suggesting to you that there were no legitimate reasons to stand down. People could conclude that bringing the case and losing the case would promote enormous disrespect for the law.

But in my judgment, that has to be balanced with promoting disrespect for the law by not bringing the case when the facts warrant prosecution. Here, bringing the case would be construed as a political act no matter what the result was. Not bringing the case is also something that can be viewed through political lenses. So to me, the calculus was clear. The case was justified on the facts. It was justified on the law. We had a reasonable chance to win. The interests of justice factors were compelling. Trump had danced between the raindrops of accountability numerous times, to the point that he proclaimed himself virtually invulnerable. You can recall his comment about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight and not losing voters.

And in my judgment, it was essential to show that, well, you might not lose voters, but you'll get yourself indicted, at least in Manhattan. But that's not to say that there were not bases for doubt. Now, I myself personally believe that the risk of bringing the case and losing the case was not something that ought lead us to not charge. But I think people can differ about that.

DAVIES: As the book was about to be published, Alvin Bragg, the new district attorney, who's been in office for a year now, wrote a letter to your publisher saying that you had an obligation to get written permission from the DA's office, quote, before making any disclosures relating to the existence, nature or content of any communications or records or documents that relate in any manner to the investigation - essentially, that you violated an agreement in talking about these internal communications, which you do. I mean, you talk about Zoom conversations and emails. What about that? Did you have an obligation to run this by them?

POMERANTZ: Well, I don't think so. There's - what he was citing was a nondisclosure agreement that I signed before I was sworn in as an ADA. And under that nondisclosure agreement, I was precluded from even mentioning the fact that there was an investigation in existence. This related to that period of some few weeks when the then-DA, Cy Vance, was getting advice from some outside attorneys, me included.

But once I was sworn in, the notion that I couldn't mention the existence of an investigation when I had just been sworn in to do the investigation was silly. It made no sense at all. The nondisclosure agreement wasn't for that purpose. In order to investigate the case, you have to tell people there's an investigation. You're talking with witnesses. You're putting evidence in front of a grand jury and so on. So...

DAVIES: Well, right. But over your career, you weren't - you made a habit of not talking to reporters. You really hated leaks in cases that you worked on. In this case here, this is being revealed to the general public, right? That's different from the communications you have in developing a case, isn't it?

POMERANTZ: Of course. Of course. And you're right, I did make it a habit not just in this investigation when I was working as a prosecutor, but throughout my career. I just didn't do many press interviews. I didn't speak to reporters. I didn't leak information. And the reason I wrote the book after everything that happened is that at that point, I had a choice, notwithstanding what had happened in the investigation. We weren't going forward. I had a choice between just keeping mum and letting people speculate about whether we had found evidence, whether we had enough evidence to proceed, what happened. Or I could speak out. And I think it was ethical and appropriate and in the public interest to speak out.

DAVIES: Now let's get to a couple of things that are news. As you know - I'm sure it's been reported that now the district attorney's office under Alvin Bragg has been presenting evidence to a grand jury about the hush money payment for Stormy Daniels, you know, indicating that perhaps they may be seeking criminal charges against Trump at this point. You know, you noted that when you looked at the Stormy Daniels hush money payment, it was legally complicated. And you weren't - it wasn't clear whether that was - would be worth charging when you brought the case. You kind of set it aside and then found that there was a very, very strong case when you looked at the overvaluing of his assets in financial statements. Any insight as to why the DA's office now might be focusing on the Stormy Daniels hush money payment as they go to the grand jury?

POMERANTZ: No, it's a good question. To my knowledge, I don't think the underlying facts have changed with respect to the hush money payment or the reimbursement or the false documents that were created in connection with the reimbursement. I do want to say, though, that it's not that the hush money case was not serious enough to charge. It was that we didn't want to charge it and run the risk of misdemeanor treatment when we had more substantial felony charges to present. We would have charged the hush money case along with the other charges. I don't think it's trivial conduct or something that ought be ignored. You know, you had checks being given to Michael Cohen purportedly for legal services rendered in connection with a retainer agreement that were signed by the president and handed to Michael Cohen in the Oval Office of the White House. You had conversation that took place between Trump and Cohen in the Oval Office of the White House, in which Cohen was told, go out and tell people you just paid it out of - paid the hush money out of your own funds.

That's behavior that is not only criminal, but deeply disturbing to those who believe that the president ought represent the highest in terms of moral rectitude, that he needs to be setting an example worthy of the nation's chief law enforcement officer, which is how he described himself. So I don't suggest that that conduct ought not be the basis of criminal prosecution - quite the opposite.

DAVIES: You said earlier that Donald Trump has danced between the raindrops of accountability. You know, he still hasn't been prosecuted for a lot of things that some might hope. I don't know if you can address this, but I'm wondering what the chances you think are that he may be charged in the classified documents investigation or the Fulton County district attorney investigation into his activities regarding the vote count in Georgia?

POMERANTZ: With respect to the classified documents investigation, it's very hard to say because I'm not privy to some of the critical facts that as a prosecutor I would like to know in evaluating whether to bring charges. What's in the documents? How sensitive are they? Did anybody get their hands on classified information? How much were the interests of the United States actually jeopardized? Those are pertinent facts, and nobody knows them outside the lawyers who are investigating and the participants. So I can't speculate. With regard to Georgia, likewise, I just don't know what potential charges have been teed up and whether there will be a prosecution.

With regard to the attorney general's broader inquiry of the circumstances surrounding January 6 and the efforts to impede the lawful transfer of presidential power, I know at least what has been written in the report of the January 6 committee. I think their - that report presents a compelling set of circumstances, and I would not be surprised if after the investigation was finished and all the circumstances were weighed - I would not be surprised to see criminal charges resulting from that. But I base that simply on what is in the material that the congressional committee has released, although it's a lot of material and a lot of facts that are presented in the report.

DAVIES: Well, Mark Pomerantz, thanks so much for speaking with us.

POMERANTZ: Well, thank you. It has been a pleasure, and I appreciate the opportunity.

DAVIES: Mark Pomerantz worked as a special assistant district attorney in Manhattan investigating Donald Trump's finances. His new book is "People Vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account." Coming up, Maureen Corrigan reviews "Up With The Sun," the new historical novel from Thomas Mallon which takes readers into the entertainment worlds of New York and Hollywood. This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANTHONY BRAXTON'S "MAPLE LEAF RAG") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Dave Davies is a guest host for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.