April 16, 2023

By Bernadette Hogan and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon

It’s the crime rate, stupid.

The House Judiciary Committee is setting its sights on New York because the state is a hotbed of failed left-wing criminal justice policies, Rep. Elise Stefanik said in a new interview.

New York’s top Republican in Congress fired back at Democrats who claim Monday’s hearing by the GOP-led panel is only payback for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecution of former President Donald Trump — saying it’s really about the state’s soft-on-crime laws.

“New York is being targeted because you have radical left-wing Democrats who have put failed bail reform in place,” Stefanik told The Post.

“That includes [Gov.] Kathy Hochul, that includes legislators in Albany, that includes defund-the-police Democrats in New York City, as well as radical, far-left district attorneys like Alvin Bragg.”

The upstate representative charged that New York “is the epicenter of the catastrophic crime crisis happening across our country.”

“Not just families in New York City, but broadly, even in my district in upstate New York.”

Stefanik, 38, will sit on the Congressional panel that will convene at the Jacob Javits Federal Building in Lower Manhattan on Monday morning to probe Bragg’s lefty policies, as well as rampant crime in New York City and the Empire State overall.

Bragg has been under fire since taking office in January 2022 and announcing that his office would not prosecute many non-violent crimes and would reduce some felonies to misdemeanors.

Stefanik chided Bragg in particular for “refusing to prosecute heinous crimes, violent crimes.”

“And yet they’re conducting political witch hunts for crimes that have not been committed,” she added, in an apparent reference to the Democrat elected DA’s felony case against Trump, 76.

The “Victims of Violent Crime in Manhattan” committee hearing come after the controversial indictment of Trump on charges that he falsified business records for “hush money” payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election.

New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, has come out swinging in defense of Bragg, claiming the hearing is part of “the Republicans’ general attempts to obstruct justice and to attack the DA in Manhattan and to obstruct justice in the Trump case.”

But Stefanik maintained that the impetus for the hearing was the state’s lenient 2019 criminal justice reforms and failed crime policies in the Big Apple.

“I think, going back to the effective years with the last Republican mayor, Rudy Giuliani, in terms of being [a] tough-on-crime approach, really cleaned up New York City.” Stefanik said.

“And New York City has backslided since then,” she continued. So, I give Mayor [Eric] Adams a failing grade.

“You know, he has an important law-enforcement background, but New Yorkers continue to flee. New Yorkers continue to fear for their security,” Stefanik said.

Democrats, including on the Judiciary Committee, are “trying to sort of message around this,” Stefanik said.

“They want to silence victims,” she said. “They want to silence everyday New Yorkers who are suffering and have lost loved ones because of this crime crisis.”

While Stefanik is not on the House panel led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), she sits on a separate subcommittee and received a waiver from Jordan to sit in on the hearings.

Among the witnesses scheduled to testify before the committee is Jose Alba, the Manhattan bodega worker who was initially charged with murder by Bragg’s office after stabbing an assailant in self-defense, and Joseph Borgen, a Jewish New Yorker who was beaten in an anti-Semitic attack near Times Square.

Also on the list are victims’ rights advocate Madeline Brame, whose US Army vet son was beaten to death in Harlem in 2018, and Jennifer Harrison, founder of Victims Rights NY. Harrison’s boyfriend, Kevin Davis, was killed in a fight outside a New Jersey bar in 2005.

Paul DiGiacomo, president of the NYPD Detective’s Endowment Association, is also due to testify, as is City Councilman Bob Holden (D-Queens).

“Democrats in Washington right now, they want to stick to their elitist talking points,” Stefanik said. “That’s out of touch with hard-working American families.”

In a statement on Sunday, City Hall spokesman Fabien Levy said: “Time and again, Congresswoman Stefanik has spun false tails to prop up Donald Trump’s flailing political career, and this stunt is no different.

“Murders, shootings, and other violent crimes are down in New York City, and up in so many House Republicans’ districts, including numerous visiting New York on the taxpayer’s dime as they hold a sham hearing to boost Donald Trump’s campaign,” Levy said. “We wonder if constituents in Congresswoman Stefanik’s district know they are responsible for footing the bill for her all-expense paid trip to New York City for no good reason.”

Bragg, meanwhile, is suing Jordan and the committee in an attempt to block it from subpoenaing an attorney who worked on his office’s investigation into Trump.

Jordan earlier this month subpoenaed Mark Pomerantz, who quit Bragg’s office last year after the DA initially decided not to pursue a case against Trump and who later wrote a book calling for the prosecution of the 45th president.

The DA’s office didn’t return a request for comment on Sunday.

Read the story in New York Post here.