Constitutional scholar and Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley wrote in a Saturday essay that the supposed upcoming indictment of former President Donald Trump by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will be a “made-for-TV” spectacle that is “legally pathetic.”
“‘The moment that we are waiting for, we made it to the finale together’ — those familiar words from ‘America’s Got Talent’ — could well be the opening line for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg next week, when he is expected to unveil an indictment of former President Trump,” Turley begins.
“With Trump’s reported announcement that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday, it would be a fitting curtain raiser for a case that has developed more like a television production than a criminal prosecution. Indeed, this indictment was repeatedly rejected only to be brought back by popular demand,” he added.
“Trump faces serious legal threats in the ongoing Mar-a-Lago investigation. But the New York case would be easily dismissed outside of a jurisdiction like New York, where Bragg can count on highly motivated judges and jurors,” Turley noted, adding: “Although it may be politically popular, the case is legally pathetic.”
Bragg is struggling to interpret state rules in a way that would allow him to successfully prosecute a federal case that the Justice Department had previously dismissed against Trump regarding his payment of “hush money” to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Turley stated that he had written in 2018 about the difficulties of launching such a federal case under the current election laws. Currently, six years later, the same theory may be forced into a governmental claim, he observed.
Very difficult to prove that the motivation for paying money to conceal an embarrassing affair was election-related, as opposed to other obvious considerations such as protecting a celebrity’s image or preserving a marriage.
This was illustrated by the failure of the federal prosecution of former presidential candidate John Edwards on the substantially more serious accusation of using campaign funds to conceal an affair, as noted by Turley.
In this case, Trump reportedly paid Daniels $130,000 in the fall of 2016 to cut off or at least reduce any public scandal. The Southern District of New York’s U.S. Attorney’s office had no love lost for Trump, pursuing him and his associates in myriad investigations, but it ultimately rejected a prosecution based on the election law violations. It was not alone: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) chair also expressed doubts about the theory.
Prosecutors working under Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr., also reportedly rejected the viability of using a New York law to effectively charge a federal offense.
Turley added that what’s even more striking is that Bragg himself had earlier expressed doubt about the case and effectively closed it shortly after gaining office. Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz, who opposed Bragg’s decision, resigned as a result.
More on this story via Conservative Brief:
Pomerantz even launched a highly visible campaign against Bragg’s stance, including commenting on an investigation that was still unresolved. He was explicit about his conviction that Trump was culpable, even though his former office had not yet reached a decision and the grand jury investigation was still ongoing, the constitutional expert explained.CONTINUE READING…