House Republicans expanded their witness list Friday for their upcoming crime hearing in Manhattan to six individuals, adding a Democrat member of the New York City Council and a victim of a brutal antisemitic assault.
Democrat Councilman Bob Holden, who represents a portion of Queens, told Breitbart News he offered to appear at Monday’s “Victims of Violent Crime in Manhattan” hearing, hosted by the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee, because he has “an issue” with certain district attorneys, including Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg.
“I have an issue with some of the DAs in New York City, and certainly Bragg is one of them,” Holden said. “I have an issue with soft on crime politicians and DAs, so, you know, I offered. I said, ‘Look, I have a view of this that’s different from my Democratic, or most of my Democratic colleagues, so I would say that obviously there’s issues why New York City is the way it is.”
Holden recalled witnessing crime improve beginning with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) and then seeing those improvements crumble in the last couple years following the state’s implementation of a sweeping bail reform law in 2020. Holden’s observation aligns with New York City Police Department records on annual occurrences of seven major felony offenses.
“I remember the city turning around, and we had I think it’s 17 straight years of decline in crime until the bail reform, and then you couple that with DAs like Bragg and it’s a bad, bad recipe there,” Holden said.
The Democrat councilman, who has been involved with the Queens community for decades, attributed the crime surge in part to financial challenges that he said the bail reform package presented for prosecutors.
“It’s not a coincidence that the stats are there,” Holden said. “That’s a definite reason. It’s in black and white. Just look at it. … The DAs were complaining [at a hearing] they can’t meet the discovery part of bail reform, and, as a result, half of the felonies are being either dropped, dismissed, or they’re pleading down to misdemeanors because they can’t do what they’re supposed to do.”
The crime hearing, taking place Monday at 9:00 a.m. at the Javits Federal Building, will focus on “how Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s pro-crime, anti-victim policies have led to an increase in violent crime,” according to a hearing notice.
Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, confers with committee ranking member Rep. Jerry Nadler during a hearing on Capitol Hill, February 1, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Republicans initially planned for three witnesses: Madeline Brame, whose son was fatally stabbed; Harlem bodega clerk Jose Alba, who was once charged with murder over the death of someone who attacked him at work; and Jennifer Harrison, founder of Victims Rights NY.
On Friday, a source familiar confirmed to Breitbart News that they had added Holden, New York City Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo, and Joseph Borgen, a Jewish man who was viciously attacked in an antisemitic assault two years ago.
Bragg has come under fire for a controversial plea deal he struck with one of the suspects in Borgen’s case, according to JewishInsider.
Republicans’ scrutiny of Bragg’s handling of crime in his jurisdiction coincides with Bragg pursuing a criminal case against former President Donald Trump that Republicans have widely rejected as a political move.
Democrats plan to participate in the hearing, and in addition to having the option to bring on witnesses of their own, they have also enlisted Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) to make a guest appearance at it.
Goldman represents the district where the hearing will take place and has been praised by Democrats as a star attorney who led the impeachment cases against Trump before taking office this year.
Republicans, for their part, plan to waive Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) into the hearing.
Stefanik told Breitbart News she is attending to highlight the “failure of Albany when it comes to bail reform,” as well as “the hypocrisy of how politicized Democrats in New York are, going after their political opponents who have committed no crimes.”
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.