Lawyer Who Ran against Current Manhattan DA Notes Key Differences in How Trump’s Case Handled Compared to ‘Poorest, Most Vulnerable New Yorkers’

Pool photo by Andrew Kelly

By Vaiva Utaraite

MANHATTAN, NY – Eliza Orlins, a public defender who ran against Alvin Bragg for Manhattan District Attorney in 2021, wrote Friday in City & State media there are many key differences between how former President Donald J. Trump is being treated in his recent Manhattan indictment versus how her clients—among “the poorest and most vulnerable New Yorkers”—would be treated.

Trump was recently arraigned on a 34-count felony indictment regarding his connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. These charges are Class E non-violent felonies, which are the lowest level that someone can be charged with. It is highly unlikely that the former President will spend any time in prison. He is set to appear on Dec. 4.

“The vast majority of my clients are brought to court straight from the scene of their arrests. Those who do receive advance warning that there is a warrant out for their arrests are usually only given a day or two to turn themselves in before the police show up at their homes,” said Orlins.

Her clients, she said, have to make certain arrangements, such as figuring out “how to cover the costs of bills and rent and they have to communicate with employers about missing work,” while they are required “to appear in court almost monthly – sometimes for years – for hearings or trials in their cases.”

While Trump was arrested, he was shortly released and ordered to come back in eight months for his trial.

Orlins wrote that “it’s worth remembering the impact that any appearances [Trump] makes in this or any of his potential cases could have on other people going through legal proceedings–which could mean anything from people having to spend more time at Rikers to delays in custody proceedings.”

Orlins added, “As a criminal defense attorney, I always advise my clients to avoid speaking publicly about their cases or posting about them on social media,” which is very different when it comes to Trump, given his strong social media presence.

Judge Juan Merchan, noted Orlins, declined to impose “an order barring Donald Trump from discussing the case for the rest of his 2024 campaign,” however he did warn Trump “to avoid making any statements that could incite violence or ‘civil unrest.’”

It is very unlikely that Trump would have been incarcerated “pre-trial in this case,” Orlins wrote, noting, “Even if prison time were on the table, the logistics of a former president being incarcerated wouldn’t be as simple as just sending Secret Service agents with him to prison, as some have suggested.”

When questioned about what she would’ve done in regard to prosecuting Trump, Orlins said she could not “really say definitively at that point what we would do, because we hadn’t seen the facts and the evidence that the Manhattan DA’s office was privy to.”

Nevertheless, Orlins wrote that the DA’s office staff in this case “have gone through a careful and deliberative process and are confident that they can prove these charges beyond a reasonable doubt in court.”

About The Author

Vaiva is a senior at California State Univeristy of Long Beach pursuing a major in Criminal Justice and Criminology, and a minor in Psychology. She is set to graduate in May of 2023. Vaiva has always had a strong passion in understanding and helping people, doing whatever she can to bring justice to those that have been wronged. Originally, she was born in Lithuania but has lived in Massachusetts since the age of three. She is set on making California her new home after graduating and strives to become a homicide detective. Vaiva is fluent in both English and Lithuanian.

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