New York prosecutors building a case against Donald Trump for allegedly lying about his wealth for tax purposes had to show the former president was “not legally insane”, one of those prosecutors reportedly writes in an eagerly awaited new book.
The lawyer, Mark Pomerantz, also reportedly compares Trump, the only confirmed candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, to famous figures in the world of organised crime including John Gotti, the “Teflon Don” who died in prison in 2002.
In messages seen by the Guardian on Friday, one former Trump administration official called the comparison “unfair to the late Mr Gotti”.
Pomerantz was part of attempts by the Manhattan district attorney’s office to build a case against Trump, but quit in February 2022 as the DA, Alvin Bragg, decided not to indict.
Pomerantz is now the author of The People vs Donald Trump: An Inside Account, due to be published in the US on Tuesday. The book has angered Bragg, who is still investigating Trump, and the former president, who has threatened to sue.
News outlets obtained the book on Friday. The Daily Beast reported Pomerantz’s words about Trump and insanity.
“To rebut the claim that Trump believed his own ‘hype’,” Pomerantz writes, the Beast says, “we would have to show, and stress, that Donald Trump was not legally insane.
“Was Donald Trump suffering from some sort of mental condition that made it impossible for him to distinguish between fact and fiction?”
According to the Beast, Pomerantz writes that lawyers “discussed whether Trump had been spewing bullshit for so many years about so many things that he could no longer process the difference between bullshit and reality”.
The New York Times also obtained the book. It reported that Pomerantz says Trump rose to fame and power “through a pattern of criminal activity”.
“He demanded absolute loyalty and would go after anyone who crossed him,” Pomerantz reportedly writes. “He seemed always to stay one step ahead of the law. In my career as a lawyer, I had encountered only one other person who touched all of these bases: John Gotti, the head of the Gambino organised crime family.”
A lawyer for Trump, Joe Tacopina, told the Times: “Injecting the name John Gotti into this seems like just another desperate attempt by Pomerantz to sell books.”
Pomerantz reportedly writes that he considered a racketeering case under New York laws used against mobsters, an idea eventually dropped as too ambitious.
Bragg has recently revived the investigation of Trump’s role in a 2016 hush money payment to an adult film star, Stormy Daniels, who claims an affair with Trump that the ex-president denies.
The Manhattan DA is reportedly seeking cooperation from Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization chief financial officer recently given a five-month jail sentence for tax offences.
Trump faces legal jeopardy on numerous other fronts, from his attempts to overturn the 2020 election to his retention of classified documents and a rape allegation by the writer E Jean Carroll, a claim Trump denies. The former president also faces an ongoing civil suit over his financial practices brought by the New York state attorney general, Letitia James.
On Friday, Bragg told the Times: “Our skilled and professional legal team continues to follow the facts of this case wherever they may lead, without fear or favor.
“Mr Pomerantz decided to quit a year ago and sign a book deal. I haven’t read the book and won’t comment on any ongoing investigation because of the harm it could cause to the case.”
Pomerantz denies prejudicing investigations of Trump. According to the Beast, he writes that when he was on the team, prosecutors “had a case, but it was not without issues, and certainly could not be described as a slam dunk”.
He also reportedly describes disagreements within Bragg’s team about how to proceed.
“It was frustrating to feel like we were about to march into battle and were strapping on our guns and equipment, but when we looked around at the rest of the platoon we saw a lot of conscientious objectors,” Pomerantz reportedly writes.
The Times said: “The book’s description of conversations between Mr Pomerantz and Mr Bragg’s team could arguably complicate the investigation. In particular, Mr Pomerantz detailed Mr Bragg’s opposition to using Michael D Cohen, a longtime fixer for Mr Trump who turned on the former president, as a witness, an awkward disclosure now that Mr Cohen may become one of Mr Bragg’s star witnesses.”
Cohen was jailed for offences including the payment to Daniels. He said this week he had once again given his phones to investigators.
In his book, the Times said, Pomerantz calls Bragg’s investigation “the legal equivalent of a plane crash”, caused by “pilot error”.
On Friday, Bragg told the Times: “Mr Pomerantz’s plane wasn’t ready for takeoff.”