The Democratic opposition to former President Donald Trump celebrated Trump’s unprecedented criminal indictment, even though legal experts, including former prosecutors, warned the case looked weak.
It appears that Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney, obtained the indictment based on a novel legal theory alleging Trump, 76, falsified business records — as part of a federal campaign finance violation — by repaying Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money before the 2016 election.
Trump accused the legal action leveled against him as a political witch hunt and pleaded not guilty to the numerous allegations, according to Fox News Digital.
“If it wasn’t Donald Trump, no prosecutor in the world would have touched this,” former assistant district attorney Daniel Bibb, who spent more than two decades trying murder cases in Manhattan, said in an interview with the news outlet. “If you and I did what Trump did, we never would have been charged.”
Experts argue that Trump’s case against him is anything but a slam dunk, despite his status as the first former or current president to face criminal charges.
Former Manhattan prosecutor and now defense lawyer Mark Bederow said that Stormy Daniels might have to testify in court, a move that could backfire since many see her as an unsympathetic opportunist. “She has repeatedly made contradictory statements to the press and has shown an insatiable appetite for media attention, the attorney said,” Fox News reported.
The indictment contends that Trump intended to commit or conceal a secondary offense in addition to falsifying business records to elevate the misdemeanor charge to a felony. While the indictment does not specify what this additional crime is, Bragg has stated that he is not legally obligated to disclose it during a press conference.
Despite legal experts presenting major concerns about the legally questionable criminal charges Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg brought against Trump, top Democrats took a victory lap to celebrate the case.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) described the criminal case as an action democracy itself required. Schiff handled Trump’s impeachment trial for pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Biden family in 2020.
“The indictment of a former president is unprecedented. But so too is the unlawful conduct in which Trump has been engaged,” Schiff said.
“A nation of laws must hold the rich and powerful accountable, even when they hold high office. Especially when they do. To do otherwise is not democracy.”
Al Sharpton, an activist and MSNBC host, described the indictment as karma for Trump, who will face Joe Biden again in 2024 for President.
“All I can say is, what goes around comes around,” Sharpton said in a statement — blasting Trump for his 1980s activism in the Central Park Five rape case.
“It’s not lost on those of us who were there in 1989 that Donald Trump will likely walk into the same courthouse where the Exonerated 5 were falsely convicted for a crime they did not commit,” Sharpton said.
Donald Trump indicted in Stormy Daniels hush money probe by Manhattan grand jury
“Let’s not forget that it was Donald Trump who took out full-page ads calling for these five Black and Brown young men to get the death penalty,” the National Action Network founder added.
“This is the same man who’s now calling for violence when he has to go through the same system. The same man will have to stand up in a courtroom and see firsthand what the criminal justice system is like.”
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) described the indictment as a step toward Congress deciding to bar Trump from holding office, which previously was considered and rejected in the chaotic aftermath of the Jan 6, 2021 US Capitol riot, The New York Post reported.
“No one in this country is above the law – including former President Trump. Being indicted for falsifying business records with hush money is only the beginning of being held accountable for his crimes,” Bowman said.
Bowman, who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, noted that Trump may face additional criminal charges due to federal probes of his actions to challenge the 2020 election results and his handling of classified information after he left office.
“Trump attempted to illegally overturn election results in Georgia and worked to incite the insurrection at the Capitol, both in an effort to overthrow our government to advance his fascist cause,” Bowman said.
“His continued calls for protests following his arrest are just another dog whistle for his followers: destroy our democracy.”