Fri. Jan 21st, 2022


Prosecutors in soft-on-crime Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office are flooding the exits amid his “radical shift in policy,” The Post has learned.

Bragg’s controversial “Day One” memo issued on Jan. 3 told assistant district attorneys to not seek prison sentences for many criminals and to downgrade some felonies to misdemeanors. His leadership has already created a firestorm that has led to an online petition calling for him to be removed.

“I know one [ADA] who was with the office over 20 years who left without a job,” said a law enforcement source. “They didn’t want to work in this kind of office. They wanted to continue prosecuting the law.”

Over the past three weeks, at least a dozen lawyers have quit.

Among the departures is senior trial counsel Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, who successfully prosecuted Harvey Weinstein, and won a 2016 conviction in the infamous 1979 murder of Etan Patz.

Illuzzi-Orbon, a Republican, had been at the office since 1988, taking only a brief leave in 2015 for an unsuccessful run for District Attorney in Staten Island.

Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon left her job after being at the office since 1988.
Steven Hirsch

Friday was her last day, sources told The Post. She did not return a request for comment.

Also gone is John Irwin, a one-time trial division chief.

Another veteran prosecutor lost her title and was told she would have to work for someone Bragg brought over from the Legal Aid Society, a source said.

“He wants to get rid of all the senior people who prosecuted high-profile cases and replace them with young inexperienced people who think like him and don’t want to uphold the law,” said a former prosecutor.

A source familiar with the office said none of the departing lawyers had been fired.

Mark Bederow, who worked in the Manhattan DA’s office, said some turnover was to be expected with a new boss, but that Bragg’s arrival will “likely” lead to more departures since “It appears to be such a cultural and radical shift in policy.”

“I would anticipate that many people within the office who have been there for years, who perhaps do not share the same philosophy as the incoming DA, will most likely leave,” he said. “I would expect that the incoming classes of DAs in the next couple of years will entirely share the policies of Mr. Bragg.”

At least a dozen lawyers have quit the Manhattan DA office in the past few weeks.
At least a dozen lawyers have quit the Manhattan DA office in the past few weeks.
Christopher Sadowski

Bederow said the turnover would lead to “transformation in the Manhattan DA’s office unlike anything anyone has seen for decades.”

Madeline Brame, the mother of murder victim Hason Correa, said she was worried about what Bragg’s policies — which include not seeking prison sentences of more than 20 years in most cases — would mean for the upcoming trail of her son’s accused killers. Correa, a 35-year-old Army vet, was stabbed to death in Harlem in 2018.

Madeline Brame, the mother of murder victim Hason Correa, is concerned about what the policies and staff changes will mean for the trial of her son's alleged murderer.
Madeline Brame, the mother of murder victim Hason Correa, is concerned about what the policies and staff changes will mean for the trial of her son’s alleged murderer.
William Farrington

Brame said the prosecutor in the case left last year and she recently reached out to her replacement because she was feeling “Tortured, tormented, stressed out and frustrated not knowing now are these people only going to (get) 20 years for killing my boy.”

“He had no answers for me. None,” she said.

Under DA Cyrus Vance Jr., 99 lawyers left last year, up from 83 in 2020. It is unknown how many of those retired.

Additional reporting by Dean Balsamini

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