I Thought the Bragg Case Against Trump Was a Legal Embarrassment. Now I Think It’s a Historic Mistake.

excalibur

Diamond Member
Mar 19, 2015
19,468
37,328
2,290
From a NY Times Op-Ed.

This guy gets it. He sees it even more clearly now, since we heard the joke opening statements by Colangelo, the guy sent by Biden to do the prosecuting for Bragg.


About a year ago, when Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, indicted former President Donald Trump, I was critical of the case and called it an embarrassment. I thought an array of legal problems would and should lead to long delays in federal courts.​
After listening to Monday’s opening statement by prosecutors, I still think the Manhattan D.A. has made a historic mistake. Their vague allegation about “a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” has me more concerned than ever about their unprecedented use of state law and their persistent avoidance of specifying an election crime or a valid theory of fraud.
To recap: Mr. Trump is accused in the case of falsifying business records. Those are misdemeanor charges. To elevate it to a criminal case, Mr. Bragg and his team have pointed to potential violations of federal election law and state tax fraud. They also cite state election law, but state statutory definitions of “public office” seem to limit those statutes to state and local races.
Both the misdemeanor and felony charges require that the defendant made the false record with “intent to defraud.” A year ago, I wondered how entirely internal business records (the daily ledger, pay stubs and invoices) could be the basis of any fraud if they are not shared with anyone outside the business. I suggested that the real fraud was Mr. Trump’s filing an (allegedly) false report to the Federal Election Commission, and only federal prosecutors had jurisdiction over that filing.
...
And none of the Manhattan D.A.’s filings or today’s opening statement even hint at this approach.
Instead of a theory of defrauding state regulators, Mr. Bragg has adopted a weak theory of “election interference,” and Justice Juan Merchan described the case, in his summary of it during jury selection, as an allegation of falsifying business records “to conceal an agreement with others to unlawfully influence the 2016 election.”
As a reality check, it is legal for a candidate to pay for a nondisclosure agreement. Hush money is unseemly, but it is legal. The election law scholar Richard Hasen rightly observed, “Calling it election interference actually cheapens the term and undermines the deadly serious charges in the real election interference cases.”
...
In Monday’s opening argument, the prosecutor Matthew Colangelo still evaded specifics about what was illegal about influencing an election, but then he claimed, “It was election fraud, pure and simple.” None of the relevant state or federal statutes refer to filing violations as fraud. Calling it “election fraud” is a legal and strategic mistake, exaggerating the case and setting up the jury with high expectations that the prosecutors cannot meet.
The most accurate description of this criminal case is a federal campaign finance filing violation. Without a federal violation (which the state election statute is tethered to), Mr. Bragg cannot upgrade the misdemeanor counts into felonies. Moreover, it is unclear how this case would even fulfill the misdemeanor requirement of “intent to defraud” without the federal crime.
In stretching jurisdiction and trying a federal crime in state court, the Manhattan D.A. is now pushing untested legal interpretations and applications. I see three red flags raising concerns about selective prosecution upon appeal.
First, I could find no previous case of any state prosecutor relying on the Federal Election Campaign Act either as a direct crime or a predicate crime. Whether state prosecutors have avoided doing so as a matter of law, norms or lack of expertise, this novel attempt is a sign of overreach.
Second, Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that the New York statute requires that the predicate (underlying) crime must also be a New York crime, not a crime in another jurisdiction. The Manhattan D.A. responded with judicial precedents only about other criminal statutes, not the statute in this case. In the end, they could not cite a single judicial interpretation of this particular statute supporting their use of the statute (a plea deal and a single jury instruction do not count).
Third, no New York precedent has allowed an interpretation of defrauding the general public. Legal experts have noted that such a broad “election interference” theory is unprecedented, and a conviction based on it may not survive a state appeal.
Mr. Trump’s legal team also undercut itself for its decisions in the past year: His lawyers essentially put all of their eggs in the meritless basket of seeking to move the trial to federal court, instead of seeking a federal injunction to stop the trial entirely. If they had raised the issues of selective or vindictive prosecution and a mix of jurisdictional, pre-emption and constitutional claims, they could have delayed the trial past Election Day, even if they lost at each federal stage.
Another reason a federal crime has wound up in state court is that President Biden’s Justice Department bent over backward not to reopen this valid case or appoint a special counsel. Mr. Trump has tried to blame Mr. Biden for this prosecution as the real “election interference.” The Biden administration’s extra restraint belies this allegation and deserves more credit.
...
This case is still an embarrassment of prosecutorial ethics and apparent selective prosecution. Nevertheless, each side should have its day in court. If convicted, Mr. Trump can fight many other days — and perhaps win — in appellate courts. But if Monday’s opening is a preview of exaggerated allegations, imprecise legal theories and persistently unaddressed problems, the prosecutors might not win a conviction at all.
Jed Handelsman Shugerman (@jedshug) is a law professor at Boston University.



 
Wow, dudes, I can hear the flop sweat.

Pecker has broken bad for you guys.

When Cohen and Stormy get on the stand, it will be much, much worse.
Only if they arrive in a tiny car and are proceeded with a dozen other clowns juggling flaming bowling pins. This liberal circus is a joke of epic proportions. We will have the last laugh in November.
 
From a NY Times Op-Ed.

This guy gets it. He sees it even more clearly now, since we heard the joke opening statements by Colangelo, the guy sent by Biden to do the prosecuting for Bragg.


About a year ago, when Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, indicted former President Donald Trump, I was critical of the case and called it an embarrassment. I thought an array of legal problems would and should lead to long delays in federal courts.​
After listening to Monday’s opening statement by prosecutors, I still think the Manhattan D.A. has made a historic mistake. Their vague allegation about “a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” has me more concerned than ever about their unprecedented use of state law and their persistent avoidance of specifying an election crime or a valid theory of fraud.
To recap: Mr. Trump is accused in the case of falsifying business records. Those are misdemeanor charges. To elevate it to a criminal case, Mr. Bragg and his team have pointed to potential violations of federal election law and state tax fraud. They also cite state election law, but state statutory definitions of “public office” seem to limit those statutes to state and local races.
Both the misdemeanor and felony charges require that the defendant made the false record with “intent to defraud.” A year ago, I wondered how entirely internal business records (the daily ledger, pay stubs and invoices) could be the basis of any fraud if they are not shared with anyone outside the business. I suggested that the real fraud was Mr. Trump’s filing an (allegedly) false report to the Federal Election Commission, and only federal prosecutors had jurisdiction over that filing.
...
And none of the Manhattan D.A.’s filings or today’s opening statement even hint at this approach.
Instead of a theory of defrauding state regulators, Mr. Bragg has adopted a weak theory of “election interference,” and Justice Juan Merchan described the case, in his summary of it during jury selection, as an allegation of falsifying business records “to conceal an agreement with others to unlawfully influence the 2016 election.”
As a reality check, it is legal for a candidate to pay for a nondisclosure agreement. Hush money is unseemly, but it is legal. The election law scholar Richard Hasen rightly observed, “Calling it election interference actually cheapens the term and undermines the deadly serious charges in the real election interference cases.”
...
In Monday’s opening argument, the prosecutor Matthew Colangelo still evaded specifics about what was illegal about influencing an election, but then he claimed, “It was election fraud, pure and simple.” None of the relevant state or federal statutes refer to filing violations as fraud. Calling it “election fraud” is a legal and strategic mistake, exaggerating the case and setting up the jury with high expectations that the prosecutors cannot meet.
The most accurate description of this criminal case is a federal campaign finance filing violation. Without a federal violation (which the state election statute is tethered to), Mr. Bragg cannot upgrade the misdemeanor counts into felonies. Moreover, it is unclear how this case would even fulfill the misdemeanor requirement of “intent to defraud” without the federal crime.
In stretching jurisdiction and trying a federal crime in state court, the Manhattan D.A. is now pushing untested legal interpretations and applications. I see three red flags raising concerns about selective prosecution upon appeal.
First, I could find no previous case of any state prosecutor relying on the Federal Election Campaign Act either as a direct crime or a predicate crime. Whether state prosecutors have avoided doing so as a matter of law, norms or lack of expertise, this novel attempt is a sign of overreach.
Second, Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that the New York statute requires that the predicate (underlying) crime must also be a New York crime, not a crime in another jurisdiction. The Manhattan D.A. responded with judicial precedents only about other criminal statutes, not the statute in this case. In the end, they could not cite a single judicial interpretation of this particular statute supporting their use of the statute (a plea deal and a single jury instruction do not count).
Third, no New York precedent has allowed an interpretation of defrauding the general public. Legal experts have noted that such a broad “election interference” theory is unprecedented, and a conviction based on it may not survive a state appeal.
Mr. Trump’s legal team also undercut itself for its decisions in the past year: His lawyers essentially put all of their eggs in the meritless basket of seeking to move the trial to federal court, instead of seeking a federal injunction to stop the trial entirely. If they had raised the issues of selective or vindictive prosecution and a mix of jurisdictional, pre-emption and constitutional claims, they could have delayed the trial past Election Day, even if they lost at each federal stage.
Another reason a federal crime has wound up in state court is that President Biden’s Justice Department bent over backward not to reopen this valid case or appoint a special counsel. Mr. Trump has tried to blame Mr. Biden for this prosecution as the real “election interference.” The Biden administration’s extra restraint belies this allegation and deserves more credit.
...
This case is still an embarrassment of prosecutorial ethics and apparent selective prosecution. Nevertheless, each side should have its day in court. If convicted, Mr. Trump can fight many other days — and perhaps win — in appellate courts. But if Monday’s opening is a preview of exaggerated allegations, imprecise legal theories and persistently unaddressed problems, the prosecutors might not win a conviction at all.
Jed Handelsman Shugerman (@jedshug) is a law professor at Boston University.



It's a monumental clusterfuck. The lunatics are definitely running the asylum up there.
 
Only if they arrive in a tiny car and are proceeded with a dozen other clowns juggling flaming bowling pins. This liberal circus is a joke of epic proportions. We will have the last laugh in November.

I don't see how. The problem is you think the majority thinks like you do, when Trump never won a majority.

All about the election. Trump didn't do anything that they didn't do.

I seem to remember that was the last ditch defense of Nixon's defenders before he resigned. "Nixon didn't do anything the rest of them didn't do, he just got caught."

Okay. Trump got caught.
 
I don't see how. The problem is you think the majority thinks like you do, when Trump never won a majority.

More people like Trump than Biden, now. You can probably thank these dumbass trials for that.
I seem to remember that was the last ditch defense of Nixon's defenders before he resigned. "Nixon didn't do anything the rest of them didn't do, he just got caught."

Okay. Trump got caught.
What did Trump get caught doing?
 
I don't see how. The problem is you think the majority thinks like you do, when Trump never won a majority.



I seem to remember that was the last ditch defense of Nixon's defenders before he resigned. "Nixon didn't do anything the rest of them didn't do, he just got caught."

Okay. Trump got caught.
This particular clownshow hinges on the testimony of a convicted liar, a porn star, and maybe the once wunderkind of the DNC, another convicted felon. Can you say, train wreck in slow motion?
 
Quite the feat Bragg and his Dim gangsters have pulled off here. Eight year old case, and the trial is going right during the dog-days of the presidential election.
 
From a NY Times Op-Ed.

This guy gets it. He sees it even more clearly now, since we heard the joke opening statements by Colangelo, the guy sent by Biden to do the prosecuting for Bragg.


About a year ago, when Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, indicted former President Donald Trump, I was critical of the case and called it an embarrassment. I thought an array of legal problems would and should lead to long delays in federal courts.​
After listening to Monday’s opening statement by prosecutors, I still think the Manhattan D.A. has made a historic mistake. Their vague allegation about “a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” has me more concerned than ever about their unprecedented use of state law and their persistent avoidance of specifying an election crime or a valid theory of fraud.
To recap: Mr. Trump is accused in the case of falsifying business records. Those are misdemeanor charges. To elevate it to a criminal case, Mr. Bragg and his team have pointed to potential violations of federal election law and state tax fraud. They also cite state election law, but state statutory definitions of “public office” seem to limit those statutes to state and local races.
Both the misdemeanor and felony charges require that the defendant made the false record with “intent to defraud.” A year ago, I wondered how entirely internal business records (the daily ledger, pay stubs and invoices) could be the basis of any fraud if they are not shared with anyone outside the business. I suggested that the real fraud was Mr. Trump’s filing an (allegedly) false report to the Federal Election Commission, and only federal prosecutors had jurisdiction over that filing.
...
And none of the Manhattan D.A.’s filings or today’s opening statement even hint at this approach.
Instead of a theory of defrauding state regulators, Mr. Bragg has adopted a weak theory of “election interference,” and Justice Juan Merchan described the case, in his summary of it during jury selection, as an allegation of falsifying business records “to conceal an agreement with others to unlawfully influence the 2016 election.”
As a reality check, it is legal for a candidate to pay for a nondisclosure agreement. Hush money is unseemly, but it is legal. The election law scholar Richard Hasen rightly observed, “Calling it election interference actually cheapens the term and undermines the deadly serious charges in the real election interference cases.”
...
In Monday’s opening argument, the prosecutor Matthew Colangelo still evaded specifics about what was illegal about influencing an election, but then he claimed, “It was election fraud, pure and simple.” None of the relevant state or federal statutes refer to filing violations as fraud. Calling it “election fraud” is a legal and strategic mistake, exaggerating the case and setting up the jury with high expectations that the prosecutors cannot meet.
The most accurate description of this criminal case is a federal campaign finance filing violation. Without a federal violation (which the state election statute is tethered to), Mr. Bragg cannot upgrade the misdemeanor counts into felonies. Moreover, it is unclear how this case would even fulfill the misdemeanor requirement of “intent to defraud” without the federal crime.
In stretching jurisdiction and trying a federal crime in state court, the Manhattan D.A. is now pushing untested legal interpretations and applications. I see three red flags raising concerns about selective prosecution upon appeal.
First, I could find no previous case of any state prosecutor relying on the Federal Election Campaign Act either as a direct crime or a predicate crime. Whether state prosecutors have avoided doing so as a matter of law, norms or lack of expertise, this novel attempt is a sign of overreach.
Second, Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that the New York statute requires that the predicate (underlying) crime must also be a New York crime, not a crime in another jurisdiction. The Manhattan D.A. responded with judicial precedents only about other criminal statutes, not the statute in this case. In the end, they could not cite a single judicial interpretation of this particular statute supporting their use of the statute (a plea deal and a single jury instruction do not count).
Third, no New York precedent has allowed an interpretation of defrauding the general public. Legal experts have noted that such a broad “election interference” theory is unprecedented, and a conviction based on it may not survive a state appeal.
Mr. Trump’s legal team also undercut itself for its decisions in the past year: His lawyers essentially put all of their eggs in the meritless basket of seeking to move the trial to federal court, instead of seeking a federal injunction to stop the trial entirely. If they had raised the issues of selective or vindictive prosecution and a mix of jurisdictional, pre-emption and constitutional claims, they could have delayed the trial past Election Day, even if they lost at each federal stage.
Another reason a federal crime has wound up in state court is that President Biden’s Justice Department bent over backward not to reopen this valid case or appoint a special counsel. Mr. Trump has tried to blame Mr. Biden for this prosecution as the real “election interference.” The Biden administration’s extra restraint belies this allegation and deserves more credit.
...
This case is still an embarrassment of prosecutorial ethics and apparent selective prosecution. Nevertheless, each side should have its day in court. If convicted, Mr. Trump can fight many other days — and perhaps win — in appellate courts. But if Monday’s opening is a preview of exaggerated allegations, imprecise legal theories and persistently unaddressed problems, the prosecutors might not win a conviction at all.
Jed Handelsman Shugerman (@jedshug) is a law professor at Boston University.




A much saner thread started early today.

Bragg's Case against Trump, a Legal Embarrassment, a Historic Mistake?​


Today at 7:43 AM

 
From a NY Times Op-Ed.

This guy gets it. He sees it even more clearly now, since we heard the joke opening statements by Colangelo, the guy sent by Biden to do the prosecuting for Bragg.


About a year ago, when Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, indicted former President Donald Trump, I was critical of the case and called it an embarrassment. I thought an array of legal problems would and should lead to long delays in federal courts.​
After listening to Monday’s opening statement by prosecutors, I still think the Manhattan D.A. has made a historic mistake. Their vague allegation about “a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” has me more concerned than ever about their unprecedented use of state law and their persistent avoidance of specifying an election crime or a valid theory of fraud.
To recap: Mr. Trump is accused in the case of falsifying business records. Those are misdemeanor charges. To elevate it to a criminal case, Mr. Bragg and his team have pointed to potential violations of federal election law and state tax fraud. They also cite state election law, but state statutory definitions of “public office” seem to limit those statutes to state and local races.
Both the misdemeanor and felony charges require that the defendant made the false record with “intent to defraud.” A year ago, I wondered how entirely internal business records (the daily ledger, pay stubs and invoices) could be the basis of any fraud if they are not shared with anyone outside the business. I suggested that the real fraud was Mr. Trump’s filing an (allegedly) false report to the Federal Election Commission, and only federal prosecutors had jurisdiction over that filing.
...
And none of the Manhattan D.A.’s filings or today’s opening statement even hint at this approach.
Instead of a theory of defrauding state regulators, Mr. Bragg has adopted a weak theory of “election interference,” and Justice Juan Merchan described the case, in his summary of it during jury selection, as an allegation of falsifying business records “to conceal an agreement with others to unlawfully influence the 2016 election.”
As a reality check, it is legal for a candidate to pay for a nondisclosure agreement. Hush money is unseemly, but it is legal. The election law scholar Richard Hasen rightly observed, “Calling it election interference actually cheapens the term and undermines the deadly serious charges in the real election interference cases.”
...
In Monday’s opening argument, the prosecutor Matthew Colangelo still evaded specifics about what was illegal about influencing an election, but then he claimed, “It was election fraud, pure and simple.” None of the relevant state or federal statutes refer to filing violations as fraud. Calling it “election fraud” is a legal and strategic mistake, exaggerating the case and setting up the jury with high expectations that the prosecutors cannot meet.
The most accurate description of this criminal case is a federal campaign finance filing violation. Without a federal violation (which the state election statute is tethered to), Mr. Bragg cannot upgrade the misdemeanor counts into felonies. Moreover, it is unclear how this case would even fulfill the misdemeanor requirement of “intent to defraud” without the federal crime.
In stretching jurisdiction and trying a federal crime in state court, the Manhattan D.A. is now pushing untested legal interpretations and applications. I see three red flags raising concerns about selective prosecution upon appeal.
First, I could find no previous case of any state prosecutor relying on the Federal Election Campaign Act either as a direct crime or a predicate crime. Whether state prosecutors have avoided doing so as a matter of law, norms or lack of expertise, this novel attempt is a sign of overreach.
Second, Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that the New York statute requires that the predicate (underlying) crime must also be a New York crime, not a crime in another jurisdiction. The Manhattan D.A. responded with judicial precedents only about other criminal statutes, not the statute in this case. In the end, they could not cite a single judicial interpretation of this particular statute supporting their use of the statute (a plea deal and a single jury instruction do not count).
Third, no New York precedent has allowed an interpretation of defrauding the general public. Legal experts have noted that such a broad “election interference” theory is unprecedented, and a conviction based on it may not survive a state appeal.
Mr. Trump’s legal team also undercut itself for its decisions in the past year: His lawyers essentially put all of their eggs in the meritless basket of seeking to move the trial to federal court, instead of seeking a federal injunction to stop the trial entirely. If they had raised the issues of selective or vindictive prosecution and a mix of jurisdictional, pre-emption and constitutional claims, they could have delayed the trial past Election Day, even if they lost at each federal stage.
Another reason a federal crime has wound up in state court is that President Biden’s Justice Department bent over backward not to reopen this valid case or appoint a special counsel. Mr. Trump has tried to blame Mr. Biden for this prosecution as the real “election interference.” The Biden administration’s extra restraint belies this allegation and deserves more credit.
...
This case is still an embarrassment of prosecutorial ethics and apparent selective prosecution. Nevertheless, each side should have its day in court. If convicted, Mr. Trump can fight many other days — and perhaps win — in appellate courts. But if Monday’s opening is a preview of exaggerated allegations, imprecise legal theories and persistently unaddressed problems, the prosecutors might not win a conviction at all.
Jed Handelsman Shugerman (@jedshug) is a law professor at Boston University.



I've seen other legal scholars that echo this. My question is what recourse does the defendant who is being denied civil rights have? How does he put a stop to this before irreparable harm is committed. Half the nation is being denied a free election. Who can stop this? A winning appeal does not repair the damage done to the electorate.
 

Forum List

Back
Top