A veteran of both the Obama and Biden administrations is poised to join one of the high-profile investigations into former President Donald Trump taking place in New York.
The addition of Matthew Colangelo, who most recently served as a top official in the Justice Department, was confirmed Monday by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, one of the prosecutors investigating whether Trump and his Trump Organization broke the law by manipulating the value of properties to get tax or loan benefits.
“Matthew Colangelo brings a wealth of economic justice experience combined with complex white-collar investigations, and he has the sound judgment and integrity needed to pursue justice against powerful people and institutions when they abuse their power,” Bragg said in a statement. The New York Times, which broke the news, said Colangelo is likely to become a leader in the Trump inquiry. This happened as a Manhattan jury began deliberations Monday on whether to convict Trump’s company on tax fraud charges.
Trump, who has broadly denied any wrongdoing, will have new ammunition to criticize the investigation he has labeled as being part of a “witch hunt” against him given Colangelo’s resume.
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Colangelo, 48, served as a senior official in the Obama administration’s Labor Department, working under then-Secretary Tom Perez, who went on to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2017 to 2021. During the Trump administration years, Colangelo established himself as a leader in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office, where he also worked with Bragg, spearheaded multiple lawsuits against the federal government, and led the still-active civil probe into Trump’s business empire.
When President Joe Biden took office, Colangelo became acting associate attorney general in the Justice Department. He later became deputy to the permanent associate attorney general, Vanita Gupta. Other prior experience includes working on housing and employment issues at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, per The New York Times.
The report said Colangelo joined Bragg’s office on Monday as senior counsel, a role in which he will assist in cases beyond the Trump inquiry, including those related to labor and housing issues. Prosecutors have also recently returned a focus to a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with Trump.
Colangelo’s new assignment is a sign of life for Bragg’s Trump investigation. Bragg, who took over as district attorney at the start of this year, lost two prosecutors in February after he reportedly expressed doubts about the Trump case he inherited. One of those prosecutors who resigned in protest, Mark Pomerantz, insisted in his resignation letter that Trump was “guilty of numerous felony violations.”
Trump announced last month that he is embarking on a third campaign for the White House. He is running while facing a flurry of investigations beyond those in New York, including the 2020 election inquiry in Georgia as well as criminal investigations in the Justice Department now led by special counsel Jack Smith.