‘It Is Banana Republic Time’: Legal Experts Lambast The Trump Indictment

The New York Times broke the story of the Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg securing an indictment of 45th President Trump from a grand jury. At the present time, the indictment has not been unsealed and the exact charges are not certain. However, there is much reason to believe that the charges revolve around Trump’s alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels being an illegal election contribution. Legal scholars are now weighing in on the historic (and infamous) indictment and lambasting its weakness.

It should be noted that an indictment is not proof of guilt but rather it simply means the grand jury believes there is enough evidence to charge a person. The evidence and legal theory allegedly at play here, however, does not sit well with a lot of legal experts. Alan Dershowitz an in interview on Newsmax referred to the indictment as “the thinnest case- the most stretched case I’ve ever seen [in his sixty years of experience with the legal system].” He emphasized that “this is coming from a liberal Democrat who plans to vote for Biden again if he runs against Trump. This is not about politics.”

Mr. Dershowitz reiterated that he “has never quite seen a case like this and for it to be the first prosecution of a former president and the first prosecution of a man who is running for president against an incumbent Democrat being indicted by a Democrat…I tell you it is banana republic time.”

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Jonathan Turley, another notable legal scholar, wrote on social media that “Bragg reportedly has secured his indictment. He has made history, but it is an inglorious moment where even some on the left have criticized the effort. This is a patently political prosecution.”

He also noted in another thread that “[t]here are reports of 34 counts [to the indictment]. But multiplying a flawed theory 34 times does not make it 34 times stronger. Serial repetition is no substitute for viable criminal charges.”

The legal scholar noted with further grave concern that “[p]roceeding solely on the bootstrap theory would be a singularly ignoble moment for the Manhattan District Attorney. What is clear is that whatever comes out of that gate next week, it will not just be Trump who will face the judgment of history.”

Robert Barnes, an accomplished civil rights attorney, similarly summarized the problems with the alleged case. On those points, he wrote that “The 4 key problems to the #TrumpIndictment 1/ Trump committed no crime; 2/ Statute of Limitations expired; 3/ Due Process violated by vague laws & politically motivated selective prosecution; 4/ Trump is factually innocent; State’s witness is a self-confessed liar & fraudster.”

Even the editorial board of the Washington Post, certainly no friend of Trump’s, decried the weakness of the indictment. They wrote in an article calling the indictment “a poor test case for prosecuting a former president.” They further called it “the least compelling” case against the former Republican president and that “[t]here’s cause for concern, and caution, ahead.” They too acknowledged that “the [prosecution’s legal] strategy is also novel, and courts may regard it with skepticism. What’s more, the potential campaign finance charge itself is shaky.” They admitted that “[a] failed prosecution over the hush-money payment could put them all in jeopardy, as well as provide Mr. Trump ammunition for his accusations of ‘witch hunt’.”

The documentation of the weaknesses of the alleged case has been well covered in previous articles in the DC Enquirer. What is true now is not just that Donald Trump is set for trial here but that the American justice system in general and the New York justice system, in particular, will be on trial with him.

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