Gov. Kathy Hochul will meet with embattled Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for the first time on Friday, she told The Post, noting that she’s “monitoring” the controversy surrounding his soft-on-crime policies.
But Hochul stopped short of calling for Bragg’s removal from office.
“I know full well the powers that the governor has — I’ll be having a conversation very shortly to convey, to let him tell me what his plans are and make sure that we’re all in alignment,” Hochul said during a meeting with The Post’s editorial board Wednesday.
The pair will meet at the governor’s Midtown office, according to a source.
“I have options, but I will be monitoring the situation very closely.”
Bragg’s “day one” memo directing his office to take a lenient approach on prosecutions by dropping certain misdemeanor cases or not seeking bail or prison time in others, has sparked outrage and calls for his removal from office.
The DA has since tried to walk back some of that, insisting that while he wants to achieve a balance between public safety and social justice, his office won’t tolerate violent crime or violence against police officers.
“Everyone goes right to removal [but] this individual has only been on the job a very short time. I’m not prepared to undo the will of the people,” Hochul told The Post, referring to her gubernatorial power permitting her to remove an elected official from office.
“However, you know, there’s options in terms of reassigning and making other decisions when it comes to finding out if there’s certain classes that are never going to be prosecuted,” Hochul said.
“But, I’d like to hear from him on whether or not there’s any adjustments in his thinking and then tamp this all down, because it is very easy to point to a person or what policy is the cause of all the ills here — and that’s not how I operate,” she said.
“I know it’s much more complicated than that. But I know my responsibility as governor, and I have a responsibility to have that conversation.”
Hochul said one of the most “pressing” issues she’s focused on is curbing gun violence, especially in the wake of the tragic shootings in Harlem last week that led to the deaths of two NYPD officers.
Earlier Wednesday, the governor and Mayor Eric Adams convened the first interstate task force on illegal guns, assembled as a multi-state effort to stem the flow of illegal guns into New York.
“As a governor, I control the borders. OK? I’ve got a larger responsibility to stop the flow of guns into the state,” she said.
“But this is a national phenomenon. And we also know that 75 percent of guns have come from out of state … but we are getting a high volume of guns being trafficked here, far more than there had been during the pandemic. So I want to find out why that is, but also what we’re going to do about it.”
Hochul refused to commit when asked if she’d grant Adams’ request to amend the state’s bail laws, protesting: “I will not be having public negotiations.”
Albany’s top two legislative leaders — state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) — have all but said the idea is dead on arrival.
They’ve pointed to state data showing a low percentage of rearrests following a defendants’ release for misdemeanors or violent felonies.
Hochul griped she wants more statistics to prove altering the law is a good idea.
“Do we have enough data now to show that more changes are needed?” she asked.
“We have to have this conversation. Am I open to tweaks? I’m willing to have a conversation with anybody about this — the mayor, the leaders of the Senate, the leaders of the Assembly — and you’ll know how I operate because I go back, have these meetings with them, conversations, process data, and when the time comes, we’ll have answers,” said Hochul. “But right now we’re still in the data gathering stage.”