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Alvin Bragg Kicks Off Another Frenzied Lawfare Trial With Weakest Case Against Trump Yet

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg wearing a black coat, prepares to speak at a microphone.
Image Credit23 ABC News / Youtube 

No reasonable jury in America would convict anyone of the charges laid out against Trump, but this is New York City.

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The weakest of the four politically motivated criminal cases against former President Donald Trump goes to trial on Monday, as the left’s lawfare season heats up. 

Legal experts on both sides of the political coin agree that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s trumped up case against Trump stretches to snapping the thin legal premise the Democrat is pushing. No reasonable jury in America would convict anyone of the charges laid out against the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, nationally recognized attorneys say. 

But this is New York City. With four liberals per square inch, Trump could expect a more impartial jury pool in Havana. 

“If Alvin Bragg had charged Donald Trump with illegally eating a ham sandwich, they would find him guilty,” constitutional law expert Hans von Spakovsky told me this week. “He is going to get a totally biased jury.” 

How did we get here? Short answer: Politics. Longer answer, a pornography peddler and a “novel legal theory” that metamorphosized a bogus state misdemeanor charge of falsifying business records into an incredible federal election law felony. Thirty-four separate felony counts, to be precise, carrying a maximum combined sentence of 136 years in prison. 

Bragg, who on the campaign trail bragged about suing Trump “more than a hundred times” gets the first crack at the left’s No. 1 political enemy on the criminal charges front. And the Democrat prosecutor is throwing everything he’s got — even if he’s got very little — at Trump to deliver a prosecution against President Joe Biden’s November opponent. 

Legless Lawfare

The saga began years ago. Aging pornographer Stormy Daniels claimed to have had an affair with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied the allegations. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to sign a nondisclosure agreement about the alleged affair. The money did not come from campaign funds. Cohen, who covered the payments up front, sought reimbursement from the Trump Organization. He noted the invoiced reimbursements as “legal services” as opposed to something more direct like “reimbursement for settlement payment re: extra-marital sex,” as law experts John Yoo and John Shu put it.

Bragg, as von Spakovsky wrote upon the indictment, has elevated a New York State misdemeanor charge of falsifying business records (a suspect charge as well) by allegedly doing so to cover up a federal crime of hiding campaign expenditures. Trump did so, Bragg contends, “in order to influence the 2016 presidential election.”  

“Those claiming the settlement with Stormy Daniels was a campaign-related expense and a violation of campaign finance law don’t have much of a leg to stand on,” von Spakovsky, a former Federal Election Commissioner and Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation wrote in 2018. “This is particularly so given that the Justice Department tried to make a similar legal claim against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards without success.”

Nondisclosure Agreements Aren’t Illegal

As Yoo and Shu explained in their February op-ed, prior to Bragg’s breathless pursuit, Southern District of New York prosecutors and the FEC looked into Trump’s so-called campaign violations. Both “declined to pursue the case because Trump used his own money, not campaign finance money, and because reimbursing someone for a hush-money payment does not fit the definition of an in-kind campaign contribution.”

“In fact, candidates do not have to disclose expenses that would have been incurred even if no campaign existed; it is highly likely that Trump would have paid Daniels regardless just to avoid any marital strife or embarrassment to himself and his family,” wrote Yoo, a Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, and Shu, a legal scholar and commentator who served in the administrations of Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Federal campaign law strictly prohibits candidates from using any campaign funds for what are considered personal expenses. Say you buy a car and six months later you decide to run for office. You can’t use your monthly car payments as a campaign expense. Let’s face it, Biden’s weaponized U.S. Department of Justice would have been all over Trump had the former president run afoul of the law. 

“Had Donald Trump used campaign funds to enter into a settlement into payment with this woman the DOJ would have gone after him,” von Spakovsky said. 

The settlement has been described as “hush money.” But there are a long list of famous leftists who have demanded such nondisclosure agreements. Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and Tiger Woods, just to name a new. Remember when Rep. Nancy Pelosi called fellow Democrat colleague John Conyers an “icon” after the Michigan congressman resigned under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations? Pelosi took quite a tongue lashing for lionizing a man whose aide Marion Brown claimed violated her body and propositioned her for sex. Guess who was forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement? Brown broke the NDA to tell her story. 

‘Double System of Justice’

Of course, the statute of limitations on the alleged crimes has expired, but partisan Bragg is pushing New York’s “tolling” provision that stops the clock when the suspect is out of state. 

“But it’s hard to believe the legislature would have intended … that serving as president of the United States counts as being out of state,” David Shapiro, a financial crimes specialist and former FBI special agent, told CBC News. 

“This case is going to have serious, serious problems,” Mark Bederow, a criminal defense attorney and former New York City prosecutor, told CBC News before the grand jury came back more than a year ago with its indictment against Trump. He said Bragg’s decision to pursue formal charges was “stunning.” 

Yoo and Shu shoot down Bragg’s assertion that had the Trump campaign disclosed the “in-kind” payment before the election it would have affected the outcome. Trump lost deep blue New York by 20-plus points. So he would have lost by more votes? Besides, the payment would not have been required to be reported until months after the election. 

“Again, imagine that a district attorney decided to charge [Secretary of State] Tony Blinken and Hunter Biden for an illegal, undisclosed in-kind campaign contribution when they lied in October 2020 to conceal that the abandoned laptop actually belonged to Hunter (“earmarks of a Russian information operation”),” the legal experts wrote. 

It’s difficult to see Bragg’s case as anything but the naked political prosecution it is. But a Manhattan grand jury agreed to this insane indictment. What are the chances a Manhattan trial jury won’t convict the man the left loves to hate? 

But there’s a price to pay for this political show trial, and some Democrats are smart enough to know the bill could be quite costly. In this case, exposing America’s double system of justice will likely do more to help Trump than to hurt him this November.


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