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I don’t like Trump, and even I think the indictment against him is weaker than I ever would have guessed.
The charges against President Trump basically come down to this, according to the prosecutor, District Attorney Alvin Bragg: “The scheme violated New York election law, which makes it a crime to conspire to promote a candidacy by unlawful means. The $130,000 wire payment exceeded the Federal campaign contribution cap. And the false statements in [Trump’s] books violated New York law.” The case has more holes than facts, starting with the connecting argument in that statement, which is Bragg’s attempt to try to tie what Trump did in New York to an actual illegal act of exceeding federal campaign laws. Bragg doesn’t even have authority to prosecute federal crimes, and exceeding campaign finance limits is typically not a crime but a misdemeanor. He’s got a big gap to fill.
Constitutional attorney, Jonathan Turley, says that the case, as presented leaves one looking for the actual underlying felony, and it just never comes up. “I know a lot of judges that would have been not too pleased to receive an indictment like this who would’ve said, ‘What the heck is this? I mean what are you alleging?’ …This thing has the feeling of like a legal slurpy. It’s instantly satisfying, but has no nutritional value. There’s really nothing there…. There are substantial legal threshold questions here, and this case could collapse before it gets to a trial…. You would think, if you were going to indict a president, you would rise to that moment of history and tell people with precision what it is that you want to convict him of.”
It comes down to whether Bragg is hiding the best parts of his case as much as he can as a prosecutorial strategy to keep the defense in the dark but can later fill in the gaps, or is this whole thing a big, fat nothing burger by a DA hoping to build a big name for himself among Democrats by creating a way to bring Trump down.
Says Turley in one article, “The indictment seems to address the lack of legal precedent with a lack of specificity on the underlying ‘secondary’ felony. Bragg has done nothing more than replicated the same flawed theory dozens of times. This is where math and the law meet. If you multiply any number by zero, it is still zero.”
Here is what Turley means: Basically, Trump is just being charged for each check he wrote and how many times he entered records of it in order to stack it up as multiple crimes (one for each supporting document) with a possible 126-year sentence. Each "count" brought against Trump is a single accounting entry or document, often for the same check paid to his attorney, Michael Cohen -- one count for the filed invoice from Cohen, one count for the filed check stub used to pay the invoice, and one for the check’s entry in the general ledger! Each document is being treated as a separate crime for a single payment, punishable by up to four years in prison for each. Four years for each check he wrote because he paid in installments. Four years for each time he recorded those checks in his ledger. Four years for each time he put Cohen’s invoices in a file drawer. The penalties, if stacked, could be 126 years in prison, 100 of which would essentially be for the crime of choosing to pay in installments versus all at once.
In each count, it says the defendant had the “intent to defraud and intent to commit another crime and aid and conceal the commission,” but where is the crime? Having multiple affairs is not a crime. It’s immoral and horrible toward your wife, but it’s not a crime. Paying people to sign non-disclosure agreements about the affair you had with them is not a crime. Having your attorney draft up the documents and provide the service of making payments in monthly installments to honor the NDA is not a crime. Calling your payments to the attorney to cover all of that “legal expenses” is not a crime. He is, after all, a lawyer carrying out a legal contract. Making those legal payments a business expense, as opposed to a personal expense when the company paying is named after you so that its own name would be besmirched by knowledge of your activity is probably not a crime and certainly not when you reimbursed it from your ow trust fund and personal account. Hiding your past affairs while campaigning, also not a crime. Probably half the politicians out there have had affairs they kept hidden while running for office. The NDA didn’t require anyone to lie, just keep silent over personal matters. No campaign money is alleged to have been used, so how is it a campaign-finance crime?
Even though this should be easily thrown out of court for having no clear crime alleged, apparently this single set of payments is so complex that the court has had to schedule the first date of trial for December. Things always are complex when you have to fabricate connections.
Says Turley, “In a single indictment, Alvin Bragg bulldozed any high ground that the Democrats had after January 6th. He has fulfilled the narrative of the Trump campaign by supplying a raw and undeniable example of the politicization of the legal system.”
Said one former Brooklyn prosecutor, “That Trump slept with Daniels or paid people to keep quiet isn’t illegal…. He is being charged for really bad accounting.”
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