Former President Donald Trump headed straight from the courtroom to the campaign trail in New York City on Tuesday, accusing the Democrat who is prosecuting him for an increase in violent crime in the Big Apple.

   “It’s Alvin Bragg’s fault,” Trump said outside the Sanaa bodega in Harlem, referring to the Manhattan district attorney who has indicted him on 34 counts regarding allegations of falsifying business records to cover an alleged hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

   “Alvin Bragg does nothing,” said the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for November’s election. “He goes after guys like Trump, who did nothing wrong. Violent criminals, murderers. There are hundreds of murders all over the city. [Prosecutors] know who they are, and they don’t pick them up. They go after Trump.”

   Police data showed crime in New York City dropped 0.77% in 2023 compared to 2022, but it is 33.7% higher than it was in 2019, when bail reform instituted by Bragg led to more criminals being released on the streets, the New York Post reported.

   Jury selection for Trump’s trial began Monday and seven of the group of 12 jurors and six alternates have been selected.

   Bodegas are small convenience stores typically located in lower-income neighborhoods, and many operate 24 hours. Trump’s campaign claims the city has failed to uphold public safety for its 13,000 bodegas because of budget cuts to the police force, which it said is on track by 2025 to fall to its lowest numbers since the 1990s.

   The one Trump visited Tuesday, at the invitation of the city’s Bodega and Small Business Group, is where Jose Alba, a 61-year-old clerk at the time, stabbed to death Austin Simon, 35, who was trying to assault him, on July 1, 2022.

   But Alba was arrested for second-degree murder and locked up for days at Rikers Island until his bail was lowered to $250,000. On July 19, 2022, Bragg dropped the charges against Alba, and Alba then filed a federal lawsuit in September against the city for racial discrimination, wrongful prosecution and for jailing him at Rikers Island.

   “I respect [the bodega association] and they respect me,” Trump said. “They want law and order, and they have a lot of crime, tremendous crime where their stores are being robbed.”

   A larger picture might be at play here. With growing support among Black and Hispanic voters, Trump said his campaign is making a big play to win New York state, which no Republican presidential candidate has done since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

   “We’re going to give New York a very good shot for the presidency,” Trump said. “We think we should be able to do it.”

   Trump cited the performance of Republican Lee Zeldin in the 2022 gubernatorial race. Zeldin lost by 6.4 percentage points, the best performance by a GOP candidate since George Pataki won in 2002.

   “We’re going to come in and No. 1, you have to stop crime and we’re going to let the police do their job,” Trump said. “They have to be given back their authority. They have to be able to do their job and we’re going to come into New York. We’re making a big play for New York. Other cities too but this city, I love this city, and it’s gone so bad in the last three years, four years, and we’re going to straighten New York out.”

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