‘This is a flawed case’: Legal expert pours cold water on NY DA’s rumored plan to indict Trump as he explains why prosecution would likely fail
The case against Donald Trump over hush payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels in the build up to the 2016 presidential election is ‘flawed’, a legal scholar has said.
Jonathan Turley, a criminal defense attorney and Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, said the case by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is unlikely to succeed.
Turley was responding to Trump’s claim on Saturday that he’ll be arrested on Tuesday next week following a long-running probe by Bragg’s office into the $130,000 paid to Daniels.
But Turley also said Trump must ‘tap down any inflammatory rhetoric’ after the former president issued a call for protests amid the imminent charges. Trump had announced he’d be arrested within days and added ‘PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!’
Trump could be charged with falsifying business records in relation payments to his former attorney, Michael Cohen, who served jail time after pleading guilty to using campaign finances in relation to Daniels. The former president could also faces charges linked to violations of election law.
Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley of George Washington University said the charges that are expected to be brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg against Donald Trump are ‘flawed’
Turley said: ‘This is a flawed case if it is based on a state charge effectively prosecuting the federal election violation. That federal case was rejected by the Justice Department. There are also statute of limitation questions that could come into play.
‘Bragg may be able to expect highly motivated judges and jurors in New York. However, the novelty and questions in this case would present difficult appellate issues for the prosecution.’
Federal prosecutors reportedly did not consider charging Trump over the payments while he was still in office because of Justice Department guidance that a sitting president can’t be indicted.
They did look again at the matter after he left the White House, but opted against seeking an indictment because the issue seemed ‘trivial and outdated’ following the January 6 riots and scrutiny around Trump’s role in stirring up that, a book from CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said.
Trump’s claim on Saturday that he’ll be arrested imminently comes more than six years after his lawyers paid Daniels a total of $130,000 to keep quiet about the affair. Trump denies the affair and any wrongdoing.
Trump claimed on his Truth Social account that the Manhattan DA’s office will arrest him within days and branded the probe ‘corrupt and highly political’, calling the alleged hush money payment an ‘old and fully debunked fairy-tale.’
He would become the first former president ever to face criminal charges. His post came hours after it was claimed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was planning on indicting Trump next week.
Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, responded to the development on Saturday by stating that if he’s charged, Trump would ‘be re-elected in a landslide victory’ in the 2024 presidential election.
Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000 by Trump’s lawyer to keep quiet about an alleged affair
Donald Trump denies the affair with Stormy Daniels. The former president’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, served jail time after he pleaded guilty to using campaign finances in relation to Daniels and another woman who allegedly had an affair with Trump
Last week the former president and 2024 hopeful was invited to testify before a Manhattan grand jury, with his long-time fixer and former lawyer Michael Cohen testifying on Monday.
Cohen served jail time after pleading guilty in two criminal cases, one of which included using campaign finances in relation to Daniels and another woman who allegedly had an affair with Trump.
He said he had been acting at his command and that the payoffs were supposed to keep the affair stories out of public knowledge before the 2016 election. Trump has admitted reimbursing Cohen
Daniels met with prosecutors on Wednesday to answer further questions in the case and her lawyer, Clark Brewster, said she would also make herself available as a witness in future, if required.
Cohen has also indicated he’s given the grand jury damning testimony that implicates Trump. He testified for three hours on Monday.