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As white powder scare grips Manhattan DA’s office, New York officials ramp up security and slam Trump’s violent rhetoric


As a white powder scare gripped the Manhattan district attorney’s office on Friday, New York court officials stepped up security and prominent leaders criticized Donald Trump for his violent rhetoric and escalating attacks on the prosecutor. of Alvin Bragg District.

Trump escalated his war of words on Friday, saying there would be “death and destruction” if he is arrested in the Bragg investigation into a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels on the eve of his 2016 election as president.

Trump has aggressively targeted Bragg in multiple provocative social media posts this week, calling him George’s “Soros-endorsed animal,” which New York civil rights leaders criticized as racist and anti-Semitic. In a Truth Social post this week, Trump shared an article with a photo of him standing with a baseball bat next to a photo of Bragg.

“This shameful attack is not a dog whistle but a bullhorn of incendiary racist and anti-Semitic bile, hurled for the sole purpose of intimidating and sabotaging a legitimate, fact-based, legal investigation,” read a joint statement from the Rev. Al. Sharpton, US Representative Jerrold Nadler, US Representative Adriano Espaillat, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Comptroller Brad Lander and several others.

New York House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries condemned Trump’s words, saying their consequences could prove fatal.

“(Trump’s) rhetoric is reckless, reprehensible and irresponsible. It’s dangerous,” Jeffries said. “And if he goes on like this, he’s going to get someone killed.”

Courthouses in lower Manhattan went into a frenzy on Friday when the white powder was discovered in an envelope marked “Alvin” with a return address of “Donald Trump,” law enforcement sources told the Daily News. The letter, the sources said, included a note saying ALVIN: I’M GOING TO KILL YOU”, followed by 13 exclamation points.

The unknown substance, determined to be a false threat, was discovered in the district attorney’s mailroom at 80 Center St, where a grand jury has been hearing evidence against the former president since January in the secret money investigation, he said. a court official told The News.

A DA Bragg spokeswoman said the substance was immediately contained and determined to be non-hazardous by the NYPD Emergency Services Unit and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. She declined to comment on the contents of the envelope. The NYPD is investigating.

Court Administration Office spokesman Lucian Chalfen said court officials were taking all necessary precautions and increasing security.

“Due to the nature of the heightened interest in proceedings in New York City courthouses, we have increased security, both inside and on the perimeter, and officers have been reminded to remain vigilant and aware of the situation,” Chalfen said.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg arrives at his office on Friday, March 24, 2023, in New York.

In the aftermath of the incident, Bragg sent an office-wide email to his staff, which a source shared exclusively with The News, confirming that the threat was false and outlining security measures in place to guard against any potential threats.

“In the extremely unlikely event of an emergency, the Bureau’s notification system is equipped to send automated messages, including voice messages, text messages, and email, to provide accurate, real-time information and instructions. We have no reason to think that will happen, but we want to assure you that we are well prepared for any possibility,” Bragg wrote.

The district attorney’s email revealed that employees recently received alarming calls.

“I know some of you have received offensive or threatening phone calls or emails directly to your desk lines. I am so sorry that you have had to endure these harrowing interruptions to your work days. Keep in mind that you don’t need to listen to or talk to inappropriate callers,” Bragg said.

Bragg’s email also warned staff that filming taking place at the courthouse this weekend could include “dummy explosions.” The downtown courthouses are a popular location for filming, with “Law & Order” camera crews regularly filming episodes outside the historic buildings.

Friday’s discovery follows a series of threats this week, as dozens of reporters have been staking out the lower Manhattan offices in anticipation of an impeachment against Trump. The former president went into a frenzy after wrongly predicting last weekend that he would be arrested on Tuesday.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, on March 4, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

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Sharpton condemned the former president’s campaign against Manhattan’s first black district attorney, noting that Bragg has more than 20 years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor.

“It’s alarming but not surprising given the kind of rhetoric we’re hearing from some of Trump’s supporters and from Trump himself posing for a photo with a (bat) next to Alvin Bragg,” the Rev. Al Sharpton told The News, in reaction. . to the latest threat.

“I think this has the possibility of suggesting to someone who may just be a prankster or just someone very dangerous trying to endanger the life of the Manhattan district attorney. This is a very dangerous thing to do.”

An officer with the New York Police Department's emergency service unit arrives at the courthouse after powder was found in an envelope destined for the district attorney's office, Friday, March 24, 2023, in New York.

On Tuesday, unfounded bomb threats were made against the prosecutor’s office, nearby court buildings and the New York police headquarters. Someone called 911 and reported that a bomb had been planted in the Manhattan Criminal Court. Law360 reported Friday that emails from the district attorney and court administrators were the subject of false bomb threats. by Russian servers for three days this week.

A federal judge said Thursday that the jury in Trump’s upcoming civil rape trial would be anonymous, referencing Trump’s post on the Saturday Truth Social that wrongly predicted his arrest, which sent America into a frenzy, had been perceived by some as an incitement to violence. Trump had called on his supporters to take to the streets and protest, but members of the media vastly outnumbered those who did.

There is no indication that the grand jury has finished hearing evidence from Bragg’s office or when they will vote on whether to indict Trump.

It could be as soon as Monday, when the panel is scheduled to meet again.

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