Democrats Refer to Crime Victims as ‘Props’ During Judiciary Committee Hearing in Manhattan

Democrats defended Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s job performance during the House Judiciary Committee’s “Victims of Violent Crime in Manhattan” hearing Monday, arguing that NYC is one of the safest places in America in front of multiple victims of violent crime in the city.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) held the “field hearing” at the Jacob Javits Federal Building just around the block from the Bragg’s office, prompting Democrats to deride the hearing as a “political stunt” or “political theater,” and the crime victim witnesses as “props.”

Earlier this month, Bragg indicted former President Donald Trump on 34-counts in Manhattan, drawing fire from Republicans who claimed he should be more focused on the rise of violent crime in the city.  Democrats brought up Trump’s name dozens of times throughout the hearing, while Republicans focused on the victims of crime in the Big Apple.

Among the witnesses were Jose Alba, a former bodega clerk who faced a murder charge after fatally stabbing an attacker in 2022; Joseph Borgen, whose son was the victim of an anti-Semitic attack in Times Square; as well as Madeline Brame and Jennifer Harrison, two mothers of murder victims who’ve become advocates for victims rights.

Robert Holden, a Democrat New York City councilman who is appalled by Bragg’s soft-on-crime policies, and Paul DiGiacomo, the president of the New York City’s Detectives’ Endowment Association, also appeared before the committee.

Alba testified that since Bragg became DA, hardworking citizens simply trying to make a living in NYC have been made second class citizens to the criminals who prey on them.

“[Bragg] completely dismissed gang assault and murder indictments against two defendants clearly on video participating in the brutal, savage slaughter of my son,” said Brame during her heart-wrenching testimony.

Borgen described how Bragg slow-walked his son’s open and shut case when he came to office.

“This has been going on for two years. They have the film of this in black and white from people on the street and Time’s Square,” he said. “And here’s Bragg just schlepping this case along, offering no solution and offering [plea] deal after deal.

Joseph Borgen was badly beaten by a gang of Muslims during a pro-Israel rally in Midtown Manhattan on May 20, 2021. Bragg offered a six-month plea bargain to Waseem Awawdeh, 24, who allegedly joined in assault with several others, and defiantly said “I would do it again” after his arrest. Borgen’s attackers called him a “dirty Jew” and yelled “F–k Israel, Hamas is going to kill all of you” as they punched, kicked, pepper-sprayed him. He suffered a concussion and was briefly hospitalized after the assault.


House Democrats focused on guns, bringing witness Rebecca Fischer, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, to testify before the committee. Fischer argued that firearms from red states are contributing to gun violence in New York City.

To the astonishment of the GOP witnesses, Dems also claimed that NYC is one of the safest cities in America, citing crime statistics in red states as far worse.

Democrat witness, Jim Kessler, Co-Founder of the left-wing think tank, Third Way, presented statistics showing higher crime rates in red states.

In response, Republicans pointed out that Soros prosecutors in Democrat-controlled cities have contributed to a surge in crime nationwide.

Democrat city councilman Robert Holden told Rep. Jordan that he has lived in NYC for 71 years, including during the city’s high crime wave during the eighties, but the situation today is the worst he’s ever seen.

“I’ve not seen the lawlessness that we’re seeing today in New York City in my lifetime,” he said.

Tensions boiled over after Rep. Daniel Goldman (D- N.Y.) suggested that the GOP witnesses were being taken advantage of for the Republicans’ political “charade.”

Speaking to Brame, Goldman said: “The problem is, is that this is a charade to cover up for an abuse of power that they are going around talking incessantly outside of this hearing about Donald Trump. And the purpose of this hearing is to cover up for what they know to be an inappropriate investigation.”

When Brame asked if she could respond, Goldman said ‘no,’ because he didn’t have much time left.

Brame responded anyway. “Don’t insult my intelligence!” she cried, as Jordan pounded the gavel and tried to restore order. “You’re trying to insult me like I’m not aware of what’s going on here,” she continued. “I’m FULLY aware of what’s going on here!”

Jordan said he would give Goldman an additional fifteen seconds to make up for the time he lost while Brame was yelling at him, but she wasn’t finished.

“THAT’S why I walked away from the plantation of the Democratic party!” she exclaimed.

In his opening remarks, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) condemned the GOP’s criticisms of Bragg and accused them of holding the hearing “in a vain attempt to intimidate or embarrass the prosecutorial authority.” About halfway through his remarks, a man in the audience stood up and heckled Schiff, calling him and all of the Democrats on the committee “scumbags.”

As Capitol Police escorted him out, another heckler stood up and accused Bragg of being “the reason” for violent crime in New York.

Jordan attempted to restore order, telling the second man “you gotta go” and asking the Capitol Police to remove him.

When he was able to speak again, Schiff continued to rail against the GOP for politicizing the crime problem in NYC.

“There was a time in America when both parties used to believe in the rule of law,” Schiff intoned at the end of his remarks. “But sadly those days are over. One of America’s two great political parties believes that political might makes right and more than right, it means that you are beyond the reach of the law and beyond accountability. The more power, the less justice, but this is not Democracy, this is the antithesis of Democracy” Schiff concluded sadly.

Borgen responded indignantly to Schiff’s remarks, saying he didn’t “have the right” to accuse Republicans of playing politics when that’s all Democrats did when they controlled the House.

“While Trump was in office, he’s busy holding hearings trying to get him out for four years,” he said. “You tried to get Trump out, you couldn’t get him out. Let’s face reality, you tried,” he added. “the dossier was a fake … And now you’ve got Democrats telling us that we’re all props for sitting here. Please don’t talk down to us. It’s really not nice,” he said.

Rep. Stefanik asked Borgen if she had a message for Bragg after giving one of his attackers “a sweetheart deal.”

“The man is incompetent obviously in the great scheme of things, but unfortunately, our hands are tied, Borgen replied. “Between me and you I’ve lost faith in the Justice System with Alvin Bragg. I don’t feel like anything’s going to get done,” he added, noting that other violent assailants are walking around scot free, as well. “It’s a disgrace,” he said.



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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 17: Witnesses are sworn in for a House Judiciary Committee field hearing on violent crime in the city on April 17, 2023 at the Javits Federal Building in New York City. Chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has been a leading critic of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg since he announced that a grand jury had indicted former president Donald Trump in an alleged hush money scheme to silence adult film star Stormy Daniels before the presidential election in 2016. Bragg has criticized the congressional inquiry as unconstitutional. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)