Arizona judge sides with local prosecutor, declines to extradite murder suspect Manhattan DA Bragg demanded be returned to NYC

 March 5, 2024

Progressive Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg just vicariously lost a court battle as part of his ongoing dispute with a counterpart prosecutor in Arizona over the demanded extradition of a suspect wanted for murder in New York City.

An Arizona judge on Monday sided with Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell in refusing to extradite Raad Almansoori to NYC to face a murder charge in Manhattan, despite DA Bragg's protests to the contrary, the Washington Examiner reported.

Bragg could still attempt to go around Mitchell by filing a petition for Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs to intervene in the case, overrule the local prosecutor and judge, and force Almansoori's extradition to New York to face prosecution there.

Dispute over whether or not to extradite murder suspect

The dispute between prosecutors Bragg and Mitchell began last month after Almansoori, who was wanted for the beating death of a woman in a SoHo hotel, was arrested in Arizona and charged with attempted murder, sexual assault, and carjacking over two separate incidents in the Phoenix area in which he stabbed two women.

"We will not be agreeing to extradition. I've instructed my extradition attorneys not to agree to that," Mitchell told reporters during a press conference, according to a CBS News report at the time. "And having observed the treatment of violent criminals in the New York area by the Manhattan DA there, Alvin Bragg, I think it's safer to keep him here and keep him in custody so that he can not be out doing this to individuals either in our state, county, or anywhere in the United States."

Bragg was infuriated by Mitchell's decision and defended himself by highlighting Manhattan's low crime rates in comparison to Phoenix while also insisting that the "homicide case" he had against Almansoori "should take priority" over the lesser criminal charges the suspect faced in Maricopa County.

"It is deeply disturbing to me that a member of my profession, a member of law enforcement, would choose to play political games in a murder case," Bragg said at the time.

Judge rules against extradition

During Monday's court hearing, according to Phoenix Fox affiliate KSAZ-TV, Court Commissioner Barbara Spencer ruled in favor of Mitchell's request that Almansoori not be extradited.

The judge told the wanted suspect, "Nothing can happen on the fugitive case other than there could be what’s called a governor’s directive, which is the document that would hold you instead of the governor’s warrant, or you would choose to sign a waiver."

The New York Post reported that Almansoori could have waived his rights and consented to extradition to New York but declined to do so, and thus will remain in custody in Arizona -- unless DA Bragg can convince the Arizona governor to intervene on his behalf and force the extradition over the objections of Mitchell.

"Seeking justice for victims and survivors is our priority at the Manhattan D.A.’s Office," a spokesperson for Bragg said in a statement. "We do not stand on ceremony but prioritize the integrity of the process. We are proceeding as we do in each and every case involving an out-of-state arrest: Following the facts and the law to ensure justice is served."

Almansoori will face trial in New York -- after he is first convicted in Arizona

Of course, regardless of the hyperbolic rhetoric from DA Bragg and others, Maricopa County Attorney Mitchell made it clear at the time the extradition dispute started, per the CBS News report, that Almansoori would eventually face accountability in New York for his alleged murderous behavior -- albeit after he was first held accountable for the crimes he committed and purportedly confessed to in the Phoenix area.

"I am protecting victims, not politicizing them or this case. Because of Mr. Bragg's track record, I am concerned this defendant could be released, posing a serious threat to women in New York and Arizona, and any state in between," Mitchell said in response to Bragg's accusations.

"To be very clear, I am not saying the defendant will never be tried in New York. I am saying he will face trial here first, then -- once we have convicted him and have a lengthy sentence in place -- he can then return to New York and be tried there," she added. "As I have stated before, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. By doing it this way I am confident that, under Arizona law, the defendant will spend a very long time in prison."

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