The indictment of former President Donald Trump has captured the nation’s attention. It’s the first time in America’s history that any current or former POTUS has been indicted for a crime.
New York prosecutors have hit Trump with 34 charges, and they’re all felonies.
However, new information from legal experts say the prosecutors are relying on a “poorly written” law to change the charges from misdemeanors to felonies.
Covington & Burling LLP election lawyer Robert Kelner spoke out against this aspect of the case, which accuses Trump of doling out hush payments to former pornstar Stormy Daniels.
As Kelner said (via The Daily Wire):
This appears to me to be a very weak aspect of the indictment and associated statement of facts, given how critical the ‘intent to commit another crime’ element is to NYC’s case.
The indictment is surprisingly vague in articulating what the other crime is, though it certainly appears they are relying on an alleged federal campaign finance law violation.
If that’s the violation [former Trump lawyer Michael] Cohen admitted to in the federal case, as appears to be so, it’s an awfully thin reed to rely upon because the Cohen case itself was weak, in my view.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg says Trump “went to great lengths to hide this conduct, causing dozens of false entries in business records to conceal criminal activity, including attempts to violate state and federal election laws.”
However, there doesn’t appear to be an explanation as to how New York State election laws were implicated.
Election lawyer Paul Seamus Ryan added that there’s “no mention of or citation to any election laws (state or federal) in the indictment,” and there are “no references to state election laws in the Statement of Facts.”
Another angle to the charges also arose:
According to the statement of facts, Bragg’s team claims Trump deemed the payment to Daniels as strictly political, and hinted that they delayed paying her until after the election.
However, all of this won’t fly if the prosecutors aren’t more specific, according to some legal experts.
NBC Legal Analyst Danny Cevallos said on “Hallie Jackson Reports” that Bragg simply “used a misdemeanor, added a misdemeanor to it, and got a felony.”
He stated that while New York law allows falsification of business records to become a felony, they don’t say what specific crime was committed in this case. He said “it’s pretty vague what kinds of crimes qualify.”
Cevallos finished as follows:
And sometimes statutes are struck down because they’re not well written.
I think this is one of those laws, because I don’t think the legislators thought ahead as to how or what crimes would be appropriate and whether or not you even need to prove that second crime in order to bump it up to a felony.
Prosecutors appear to be amping up the charges against Trump in this scenario, and legal experts are saying the severity of the charges may not hold.
If that’s the case, the charges against the former President might have to be altered or dropped. At this point, multiple attorneys are saying the case appears surprisingly weak in some respects.
- Legal experts say prosecutors are using a vague and “poorly written” law to upgrade misdemeanors to felonies in the Trump case.
- NBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos said Bragg’s team just added a misdemeanor to a misdemeanor, “and got a felony.”
- The specifics about the crime and other key details like New York election laws will have to be clarified.