Colangelo did not communicate with Bragg’s office while at DOJ, department says

The Department of Justice is disputing claims that one of its former senior officials coordinated with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to bring felony charges against former President Donald Trump.

A DOJ spokesman said Tuesday in a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner that it had no records of communication between Alvin Bragg’s office and Matthew Colangelo, who held a senior position at the DOJ until he joined Bragg’s team in December 2022.

The department performed a “comprehensive search for email communications” from January 2021 through the day Trump was convicted among all employees who work in DOJ leadership, including political appointees of President Joe Biden, said Carlos Uriarte, an assistant attorney general.

“We found none. This is unsurprising,” Uriarte wrote to the House Judiciary Committee.

He said the search included Colangelo’s email account.

“Department leadership did not dispatch Mr. Colangelo to the District Attorney’s office, and Department leadership was unaware of his work on the investigation and prosecution involving the former President until it was reported in the news,” Uriarte wrote.

Prosecutors Matthew Colangelo, left, and Susan Hoffinger, right, leave a state office building on Thursday, March 30, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The letter comes in response to the committee asking the department in April for numerous records related to Colangelo.

“Given the perception that the Justice Department is assisting in Bragg’s politicized prosecution, we write to request information and documents related to Mr. Colangelo’s employment,” Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) wrote.

The scrutiny of Colangelo continued at a recent congressional hearing, during which Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) commented to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Colangelo’s “remarkable downstream career journey from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and then pops up in Alvin Bragg’s office to go get Trump.”

“And you’re saying that’s just a career choice that was made?” Gaetz asked.

“I did not dispatch Mr. Colangelo anywhere,” Garland replied.

The attorney general also addressed the claim directly in his opening remarks, saying the “conspiracy theory is an attack on the judicial process itself.”

While DOJ records show no correspondence between Colangelo and Bragg, they do not account for Colangelo’s personal correspondence he would have had with the district attorney during the process of changing jobs.

While Colangelo was overseeing civil litigation at the DOJ, Bragg hired him to help with white-collar prosecutions. Colangelo had little experience in that field, but he had a wealth of knowledge about Trump.

Before working at the DOJ, Colangelo worked for New York Attorney General Letitia James, who investigated Trump for three years before she brought a massive civil lawsuit against Trump and his eponymous real estate company.

During his time in James’s office, Colangelo was involved in Trump’s civil case and led federal initiatives, which involved, at the time, filing lawsuits against the Trump administration, as well as investigating the Trump Foundation.

He also worked in the Obama administration, and the Democratic National Committee paid him twice for “political consulting” in 2018, according to federal records.

Colangelo was heavily involved in the process of bringing charges against Trump in New York, and he delivered the opening statement at Trump’s trial.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been at the forefront of the claims that Bragg’s case was a political effort brought by Biden, his lead opponent, though he has shown no evidence of Biden’s involvement in it.

Before Judge Juan Merchan imposed a gag order on Trump that prevented him from talking about prosecutors in New York, Trump pointed to Colangelo as the perceived link between Biden and Bragg.

“Remember this. Colangelo was a DOJ guy. He’s a Biden DOJ guy,” Trump said. “Why is he in the Manhattan DA’s office trying the case? That in itself is a conflict.”

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Trump noted the trial was “in the middle of an election” and said it was a “Biden trial … because Colangelo worked for Biden.”

The Washington Examiner reached out to the Judiciary Committee for comment.

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