Legal scholar Alan Dershowitz explained why he believes the indictment against former President Donald Trump will be quickly tossed from court.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg confirmed on Thursday that a grand jury has indicted Trump over allegations related to an alleged hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels. The indictment, however, remains under seal, and the exact charges will not be publicized until Trump is arraigned, which is expected to take place next week.
What did Dershowitz say?
Reacting to the unprecedented news, the Harvard Law School emeritus professor predicted a judge will toss the case on statute of limitations grounds.
"I think the most important thing is they indicted him when he was out of New York, and that means they could have indicted him within the statute of limitations when he was out of New York. The statute of limitations is way expired," Dershowitz explained on Newsmax. "They claimed they couldn't have indicted him because he was outside of New York, but now they've indicted him when he's not in New York."
Dershowitz added that Bragg made a "foolish, foolish decision, which will cause the case to be thrown out, I think, on statute of limitations grounds."
A scholar of American criminal law, Dershowitz predicted Trump's attorneys will file an immediate motion to dismiss the case based on statute of limitations grounds.
What about the statute of limitations?
Bragg reportedly investigated Trump for falsifying business records over allegations that money he claimed went to Michael Cohen for legal services actually went to Daniels.
In New York, the crime of falsifying business records is generally a misdemeanor — for which the statute of limitations is two years — but it can be a Class E felony if the crime occurred "to conceal another crime." The statute of limitations in that case is five years.
It is not yet known what second crime prosecutors allege Trump committed to elevate the charge to a felony, though it is believed that prosecutors will argue the hush-money payment constituted a violation of campaign finance laws.
At the center of the statute of limitations concern is whether they were triggered in 2017 — when the payments to Cohen were allegedly made — or in 2018 on the basis of bookkeeping implications.
As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy explained:
Assuming the statute of limitations was thus triggered in 2018, the five-year period would lapse sometime this year. That, at least in part, explains the frenetic investigative activity that has gone on the last few weeks: If the state doesn't indict soon, the case would be time-barred. Or . . . it could be time-barred already.
The indictment came despite the Justice Department declining to prosecute it. The Federal Election Commission also declined the case.
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