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Manhattan DA says Arizona prosecutor is playing "political games" in SoHo hotel murder case

Manhattan DA blasts "political games" in SoHo murder suspect extradition fight
Manhattan DA blasts "political games" in SoHo murder suspect extradition fight 03:27

NEW YORK - It has become a political showdown between two top prosecutors. 

Arizona is still refusing to send a murder suspect to New York City, citing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's policies and decisions.

Bragg responded Thursday, saying justice for victims and their families is the most important thing, and that's what the conversation should be about - not a political showdown between prosecutors. He also defended his office, and touted low crime rates in Manhattan. 

Manhattan DA responds to Arizona prosecutor 14:07

"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. 

Bragg was responding to Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell. 

"We will not be agreeing to extradition. I've instructed my extradition attorneys not to agree to that," Mitchell said Wednesday. 

Mitchell was referring to Raad Almansoori, a murder suspect in Manhattan. 

Police said earlier this month Denisse Oleas-Arancibia, 38, was found murdered in a SoHo hotel room. Investigators say she was beaten to death with an iron. Detectives believe Almansoori committed the brutal crime, but authorities said he was also arrested in Arizona for other crimes there days after, including allegedly stabbing another woman

"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," Mitchell said. 

That would be the beginning of a national debate over politics and crime. 

Bragg responded that Manhattan is the safest big city in America. 

"Our murder rate is less than half that of Phoenix, Arizona's. In 2023, they had 198 criminal homicides. Here in Manhatta, we had 73," Bragg said. "I do not know what they do in Arizona. But I know that here in this county, New York County, we routinely seek and get remands means the persons in custody in our murder cases. Those are the facts."

Almansoori is a suspect in other crimes in Florida and Texas, too. 

Mitchell said she wants him to face his charges in Arizona before New York. 

"We have a homicide case. So there's really nothing more important than a murder case. So I would think that should take priority," Bragg said. 

We reached out to the Maricopa County Attorney's office for an interview as well, and were told she's not available. She released this statement, however. 

"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. 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," Mitchell said. "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." 

Bragg says the two haven't spoken to one another, but he's hoping for a conversation instead of public appearances. 

In the meantime, the murder suspect remains in custody in Arizona. 

Almansoori has an upcoming extradition hearing where he can consent, or not, to coming to New York to face his murder charge. 

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