Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg was ill-advised in pursuing charges against former President Donald Trump in a years-old case that had not gone anywhere.
But as he took office, Bragg made it his business to resurrect the case Involving Trump making a $130,000 payment to actor Stephanie Clifford, who goes by the name Story Daniels, through his lawyer before the 2016 election.
Daniels had alleged an affair with Trump a decade earlier, which Trump has repeatedly denied. Bragg is reportedly planning to seek an indictment against Trump partly for allegedly falsifying business records by writing off the payment as legal fees, New York Post reported.
Bragg has invented a new approach to the formerly dead case.
That offense would ordinarily be a misdemeanor under state law, but Bragg is considering a novel legal theory that would elevate it to a felony on the grounds that it allegedly was committed in furtherance of violating federal campaign finance rules, according to the New York Times.
Bragg’s attempt to throw some sort of mud at Trump is now at the stage where a Manhattan grand jury has convened to review evidence.
The grand jury convened on Monday and heard testimony from David Pecker, a longtime Trump friend and the former chief executive of the parent company of The National Enquirer – it was the first time the jury had convened for the Trump case in a week, Daily Mail reported.
Upon discovering the delay, Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina now hopes the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is reconsidering criminal charges:
“Everyone, from the left to the right, in the middle, is saying this case should not be brought. It should not because there is absolutely no crime. The law makes that clear.”
“And you do not indict a president for the first time in this country’s history on a case that will never make it to the finish line,’ Tacopina tells the Dailymail.com exclusively.
“I am hopeful that the DA’s office is cognizant of that and that they will not simply seek to charge President Trump because DA Bragg’s financiers are baying for his scalp. It would be the greatest form of injustice and would destroy the rule of law.”
Trump himself has called out Bragg repeatedly during Bragg’s attempt to bring charges against the former president:
“The Manhattan DA witch Hunt against me is DEAD, no evidence at all, & it has been conclusively proven that I did nothing wrong!
The evidence against their ‘Star’ witness, however, is overwhelming. An already disbarred lawyer and convicted felon, the only question left is will the DA’s office sue him for lying and fraud. They should! The SDNY already found him guilty on charges unrelated to ‘TRUMP’ & wrote a scathing report. He is responsible for time taken away from the DA on VIOLENT CRIME!”
“How do you indict an innocent man, a former very successful President who is now running and leading in the polls, that every legal scholar, and virtually every ‘hater’ says, ‘Don’t do it, there is no case here?’ This is what happens in Third World countries which sadly, the USA is rapidly becoming!”
There was still no word on when the panel might vote on a possible indictment of the former president, and any potential criminal charge won’t be voted on until next week at the earliest, Daily Mail reported.
Republicans in Congress are taking exception to the whole initiative, and earlier this week House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Comer, R-Ky, and House Administration Committee Chair Bryan Steil, R-Wisc., sent Bragg a letter demanding documents, communications, and testimony related to his investigation of the former president, NPR reported.
In their letter, the three committee chairs called the possible indictment “an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority” and said it was based on “a novel legal theory untested anywhere in the country and one that federal authorities declined to pursue.”
They argued that if Bragg does indict Trump, Bragg’s actions “will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the course of the 2024 presidential election.”
Bragg’s office responded with their own letter, stating that his office, New York, and and the investigation is above the concerns of Congress. ” The DA’s office will not allow a Congressional investigation to impede the exercise of New York’s sovereign police power,” General Council for the District Attorney of New York County Leslie Dubeck wrote.
Jordan was asked Thursday if he would consider compelling Bragg to appear with a subpoena. He told reporters “we’re looking at all options.”
It is interesting to note that the case was formally deemed to have no merit, and now that Bragg has entered office is suddenly resurrected just as Trump declared himself a candidate for the Oval Office, shades of the situation when the attempt by Daniels to smear Trump in the first place.