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'Legally pathetic': Legal expert explains why Alvin Bragg's case against Trump is 'patently political prosecution'
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'Legally pathetic': Legal expert explains why Alvin Bragg's case against Trump is 'patently political prosecution'

Legal expert Jonathan Turley explained over the weekend why the potential forthcoming indictment of former President Donald Trump is a legal house of cards.

Manhattan's district attorney may potentially arrest Trump on Tuesday over a hush money payment of $130,000 allegedly paid to Stormy Daniels in 2016.

As legal basis for prosecution, it is suspected Bragg will nail Trump for allegedly falsifying business records based on allegations that he incorrectly classified legal expenses to his former attorney, Michael Cohen, that were used to reimburse him for paying off Daniels. On the other hand, it is suspected that Bragg will allege that Trump's hush money payment essentially constituted an improper campaign donation. In sum, Trump could be hit with a felony charge.

What did Turley say?

"[T]he case is legally pathetic," wrote Turley, a professor at the George Washington School of Law, in The Hill.

"Bragg is struggling to twist state laws to effectively prosecute a federal case long ago rejected by the Justice Department," Turley said. "In 2018 (yes, that is how long this theory has been around), I wrote how difficult such a federal case would be under existing election laws. Now, six years later, the same theory may be shoehorned into a state claim."

There are a number of reasons why the case is dubious at best, according to Turley.

  • First, so-called "hush money" payments are not necessarily illegal, and the federal government has a poor track record of prosecuting similar cases.
  • Second, former Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. dismissed the viability of the legal course that Bragg is now charting.
  • Third, and most important, "Bragg himself previously expressed doubts about the case, effectively shutting it down soon after he took office," Turley wrote.

Other significant legal challenges imperiling the case are how Bragg is purportedly weaving together state and federal law and how the statute of limitations impacts the charging statutes.

In another essay, Turley described the case as "patently political prosecution." Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy agrees.

"Bragg is engaged in bare-naked politics. The case is not merely unworthy as a prosecution of Trump (which is why federal prosecutors walked away from it years ago, as did Bragg before he was pressured by progressive Democrats into reviving it); it is also a case that everyone knows Bragg would never bring against anyone other than Trump," McCarthy wrote.

Trump said on Saturday that he expects to be arrested. Whether that actually happens, and whether Bragg's potential case ever sees the courtroom, remains to be seen.

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