Manhattan’s District Attorney, Alvin Bragg (D), decision to pursue an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s $130,000 non-disclosure payments to Stormy Daniels as an illegal election contribution has left many in the legal world scratching their heads. Even legal experts that the Washington Post cites note the unusual nature of the case and that it relies on testimony from Michael Cohen, a disgraced lawyer who plead guilty to lying to Congress. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus and famed legal defender of Trump during his first impeachment, called this attempt to investigate Trump ‘targeted injustice’ and likened it to how Southern prosecutors in the 1950s would harass civil rights workers.
Professor Dershowitz recalled that “[w]hen I was coming of age in the 1950s Southern prosecutors would target civil rights workers and search for any possible violation of the law, no matter how technical. If they discovered or invented a violation, they would indict, prosecute, convict, and sentence the target….That, precisely, is what we are now seeing with the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, targeting the former president and current candidate, Donald Trump.”
He further commented that “[a]fter spending months searching the criminal code for a law that Mr. Trump might be accused of violating, Mr. Bragg has apparently landed on a highly questionable campaign contribution provision that has never before been used in a comparable situation…All decent people, whether politically opposed to Mr. Trump (as I am) or supportive of his candidacy, should be concerned about this weaponizing of the prosecutor’s office for the political purpose of preventing a potential candidate from running for office.”
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Mr. Dershowitz professed that “Equal protection of the law requires equal application and non-application of criminal statutes. Mr. Bragg would be violating that important principle if he seeks a grand jury indictment based on what now appears to be the slim evidence and even slimmer legal basis.”
In effect, Dershowitz finds that the legal theory that Mr. Bragg is operating under to investigate Mr. Trump is highly dubious and unprecedented in its application to what Trump did and that this was a clear-cut case of politicized prosecution. Even Ruth Marcus, a person who wrote that she’d “like to see Trump held to account” in an article for the Washington Post, commented that she was “nervous” about Mr. Bragg’s case. She rounded off her text by covering some of the difficulties in using this case to go after Trump in court by writing “I hope he [Mr. Bragg] knows what he’s doing.”
As of now, the Democratic District Attorney has not brought an indictment against the former (and possibly future) Republican president.