Democrats Claim Crime Victims Are GOP ‘Props,’ Sparking Outrage from Witnesses

Madeline Brame, chairwoman of the Victims Rights Reform Council and mother of Army veteran
Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty

Democrats spent their time during a crime hearing Monday in New York City focusing on gun control, crime in other cities, and former President Donald Trump, while accusing Republicans of using witnesses — victims and families of victims of violent crime — for political gain.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) called the “Victims of Violent Crime” hearing, organized by House Judiciary Committee Republicans, a “vain attempt to intimidate or embarrass the prosecutorial authority” of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is currently pursuing criminal charges against Trump.

“You are using this as a political stunt unrelated to public safety concerns around this country,” Schiff charged at the GOP.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said, “I want to thank all the witnesses, including the victims of crime. I fear you are being used for a political purpose despite your sincerity.”

Republicans announced the hearing days after Trump was arraigned in Manhattan on felony charges of business fraud brought on by Bragg.

The GOP has furiously rejected Bragg’s prosecution, widely contending he has prioritized a politically motivated endeavor over violent crime in his jurisdiction.

Republicans’ witnesses on Monday included Madeline Brame, a victims’ rights advocate whose 35-year-old son was fatally stabbed multiple times in an incident involving four offenders; the father of a Jewish man brutally assaulted in an antisemitic attack; the girlfriend of a man who was fatally stabbed; and a Bodega clerk who was once charged with murder after he was attacked at work.

In a veiled response to the Democrats, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said during his speaking time, “We are here not to use anyone but to uplift the voices of brave people that came to tell their story.”

The Florida Republican then turned and asked some of the witnesses if they felt “used,” to which they responded in the negative.

“I’m a willing participant,” Brame firmly replied.

“I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to testify here on behalf of victims because the Democrat Party, including Mr. Nadler and everybody here today, has ignored us in this city,” said Victims Rights NY founder Jennifer Harrison, whose boyfriend and boyfriend’s friend were fatally stabbed more than a decade ago.

Nevertheless, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) went on to characterize the event as a “sham hearing.”

“Like jackbooted thugs, [Republicans have] descended on New York City using violent crime as their pretext. … Republican witnesses who have used their time to criticize District Attorney Bragg have served as props in a MAGA Broadway production,” Johnson said, before being cut off by jeers from the crowd.

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY), who is not on the Judiciary Committee but who waived into the hearing because it took place in his district, attempted to “emphasize” to the witnesses that the Republicans were using the hearing as a “cover-up” to disguise their intent to defend Trump in Bragg’s prosecution.

“We’re not insulting you,” Goldman said. “Your experiences are devastating, but the problem is 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.”

Brame, outraged by Goldman’s remarks, shot back, “Don’t insult my intelligence! That you’re not going to do. You’re trying to insult me like I’m not aware of what’s going on here. I’m fully aware of what’s going on here.”

“That’s why I walked away from the plantation of the Democratic Party,” Brame added.


House Judiciary GOP

Toward the end of the hearing, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), a member of Republican leadership who is from New York and who, like Goldman, waived into the hearing, observed that Democrats had “smeared” the witnesses.

“As a native New Yorker born and bred, I think it’s important to note that many of the Democrats on this committee have smeared brave victims and fellow New Yorkers here today,” Stefanik said, noting Democrats had used terms such as “props, a circus, a performance, MAGA Broadway props, and an underlying sham.”

Republicans made a concerted effort to focus the hearing on crime in Bragg’s jurisdiction rather than Trump’s prosecution, which they have widely denounced as a politicized undertaking by Bragg.

They were successful in steering clear of discussing Trump, Stefanik observed.

“Democrats have politicized this hearing, mentioning Donald Trump 38 times,” she said. “That number for Republicans is zero. We’re focused on victims and making sure we support law and order in this country.”

Related: Watch Jordan Torch Bragg for “Caring More About Perpetrators of Crime Than Victims” at NYC Hearing

House Judiciary GOP

Write to Ashley Oliver at Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.


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