Constitutional attorney Jonathan Turley says Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is not only “outside of his lane” in his rabid pursuit of an indictment against former President Donald Trump over his payment of $130,000 to “stripper” Stormy Daniels, the woke D.A. is “on a completely different highway.”
Turley appeared on “Fox and Friends Saturday” and said Bragg’s case has “a number of flaws,” and in an opinion piece for The Hill, the lawyer called Bragg’s efforts “legally pathetic.”
(Video: Fox News)
“One would say that Bragg is outside of his lane, but in this case, he’s on a completely different highway,” he told the Fox hosts. “This is an effort by a state official to effectively prosecute a federal crime, a crime that the Department of Justice decided not to prosecute.”
Turley explained that, in order to win the case, prosecutors must “show that that money was paid with the election solely in mind.”
Just because Trump presented Daniels with a check in 2016, just prior to the presidential election, it doesn’t prove that he did it to increase his chances of winning the White House.
“There’s obviously a lot of different reasons why a married man would want to hush up a scandal with a former stripper,” Turley noted. “And that’s the problem that they had in the John Edwards case — that was a much stronger case. The Department of Justice went all in, and they lost.”
Bragg’s decision to pursue a case that the DOJ declined, he said, “raises some obvious questions.”
“There are a number of flaws in this case,” Turley continued. “It is based on Section 175 dealing with falsified business records. They need to actually federalize the case in the sense of hooking into that alleged federal violation. The reason is — I think Bragg is out of time. The statute of limitations is about two years on this offense.”
“That has already run,” he stated. “You can extend it to five years if you connect it as a felony to another crime. Even at five years, I’m not sure the time has not run out, is so there’s going to be some intense challenges here.”
Despite the flaws, Turley warned that, if indicted, Trump would face “one of the worst jury pools.”
It’s a point he also alluded to in his piece for The Hill.
The Hill has posted my column on expected arrest and prosecution of Donald Trump. Although it may be politically popular, the case is legally pathetic. https://t.co/ZTg9Q1WzPB
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) March 18, 2023
“Trump faces serious legal threats in the ongoing Mar-a-Lago investigation,” he wrote. “But the New York case would be easily dismissed outside of a jurisdiction like New York, where Bragg can count on highly motivated judges and jurors.”
“Although it may be politically popular,” he stated, “the case is legally pathetic.”
Even “Bragg himself previously expressed doubts about the case, effectively shutting it down soon after he took office,” Turley wrote.
The George Washington University Law School professor continued:
The two lead prosecutors, Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz, resigned in protest. Pomerantz launched a very public campaign against Bragg’s decision, including commenting on a still-pending investigation. He made it clear that Trump was guilty in his mind, even though his former office was still undecided and the grand jury investigation was ongoing.
Pomerantz then did something that shocked many of us as highly unprofessional and improper: Over Bragg’s objection that he was undermining any possible prosecution, Pomerantz published a book detailing the case against an individual who was not charged, let alone convicted.
Pomerantz became “an instant success in the media” and “Bragg caved.”
“‘America’s Got Trump’ apparently will air after all,” Turley wrote, likening the spectacle to the finale of “America’s Got Talent.”
But according to a legal expert and former member of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Hans von Spakovsky, Bragg’s finale may end in a flop.
“If the state charges are based on a supposed violation of federal campaign finance law, then the Manhattan DA is way off base,” von Spakovsky told Fox News Digital.
“A settlement payment of a nuisance claim is not a federal campaign expense,” he said. “The state DA has no authority to prosecute a federal campaign finance violation in any event.”
The Heritage Foundation senior fellow added, “The federal agencies with jurisdiction did not consider it a violation.”
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