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Bragg's office faces bar complaint alleging discrimination in 'diversity' hiring practices

Bragg's office faces bar complaint alleging discrimination in 'diversity' hiring practices

A conservative legal advocacy group filed a formal bar complaint this week against New York County Democratic District Attorney Alvin Bragg, alleging racially discriminatory hiring practices.

America First Legal Vice President Dan Epstein told Fox News Digital Bragg’s official website clearly indicates his office is encouraging hiring practices that prefer applicants from certain backgrounds.

"We have kind of marshaled evidence that his office, when it comes to hiring attorney talent, is very clear about engaging in kind of diversity requirements — whether you call that ‘racial balancing,' whether you call that ‘quotas.' There's clear evidence that there are further steps to do that," Epstein said Wednesday in an interview.

Not only do such hiring practices risk running afoul of federal law, Epstein said of his group’s complaint, but they also are inconsistent with New York Bar Association standards of professional conduct.

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In a statement announcing the complaint, America First Legal said a regulation of the state Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits "unlawful discrimination" and alleged Bragg’s office also violated New York Human Rights Law with racially and sexually discriminatory hiring practices.

In one example, Bragg’s website says his office "seeks to have a legal staff that reflects the diversity of the community that we serve."

That, Epstein suggested, puts policy above constitutionality.

"That is precisely the opposite of what lawyers, particularly law enforcement lawyers, should be doing," he said.

America First Legal’s statement added that "both cannot be true" when it comes to giving attention to diversity while stating the office won't discriminate based on such characteristics.

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Epstein also pointed out it is not unprecedented to see a high-profile attorney be disbarred for valid reasons, as Hunter Biden was in Washington, D.C., after his gun violation conviction.

He said the process in New York state falls to district grievance review boards. Bragg falls under the First Judicial District, which covers Bronx County and New York County.

Bragg will be subject to one of three outcomes — no action if the complaint fails to meet a violation threshold, a warning letter or a suspension of his law license, Epstein said.

"It’s not just forced disclosure of race, ethnicity and gender. It's statements on their hiring portal that say that the district attorney's office has diversity, equity, inclusion priorities and that they’re committed to hiring a diverse staff," Epstein said.

"Whenever you give kind-of bonus points or whenever you effectively say, 'Between two equally qualified candidates, we're going to pick the candidate simply because of race,' that's discrimination."

Filing objections to attorneys and judges for discriminatory practices is not new, Epstein added, pointing to America First Legal’s ultimately unsuccessful filings against three judges in the Southern District of Illinois who reportedly encouraged "newer, female and minority" attorneys to argue in court proceedings.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the complaints in March.

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Epstein also rejected criticism that America First Legal is "targeting" Bragg, who has been maligned by many conservatives over his prosecution of former President Trump.

Instead, Epstein said, America First Legal is "on the lookout" overall as a watchdog for evidence of discrimination in any government prosecutor’s office.

America First Legal was founded in 2021 by Stephen Miller, a former Trump speechwriter who previously served as a top aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

The New York Bar declined comment for this story, noting it is a voluntary bar that plays no role in discipline. Bragg's office did not respond to requests seeking comment. 

A representative for the attorney grievance committee told Fox News Digital, "Pursuant to confidentiality rules, we are not at liberty to make public comment."

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