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Ex-prosecutor’s book could hurt Trump investigation, district attorney worries

Shayna Jacobs
The Washington Post
January 18, 2023

Senior Partner Adam Kaufmann spoke to the Washington Post regarding the potential legal and ethical ramifications facing a former prosecutor who wrote a book about his time investigating Donald Trump.

Adam Kaufmann, who has served in the past as a top executive in the district attorney’s office and is now in private practice, said Pomerantz is exposing himself to “a lot of possible jeopardy from a bunch of different directions.”

Pomerantz, through his book’s publication, is violating an “expectation that prosecutors should basically speak through charging decisions,” according to Kaufmann. Typically, a prosecutor’s office is barred from revealing anything about an ongoing probe unless or until an indictment is filed and even then attorney conduct rules can prohibit the public release of information that is not part of a court proceeding, he said.

“You’re not a free agent, you’re a representative of a public office and I think there’s an obligation to protect the secrecy of the investigations you undertake,” Kaufmann added. He said Pomerantz is “a smart, experienced lawyer” who likely has envisioned a basis to argue his publishing pursuit is appropriate.

One potential way to avoid revealing grand jury developments, which are strictly secret and would amount to a crime if disclosed, would be to discuss only what a person said in an interview and not under oath in front of a grand jury panel. Since witnesses often meet with prosecutors in advance, it is possible to have cover from prosecution by disclosing what was said in a meeting, not in front of the grand jury.

If there is overlap between the accounts, which would be expected, it would be a way to skirt serious grand jury laws but would pose a potential ethics dilemma, Kaufmann said.

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