Alvin Bragg is an unparalleled case against Donald Trump. He was recently appointed Manhattan district attorney and reportedly found the criminal inquiry too thin to pursue, shifting the office’s focus to a tax fraud investigation into the former President’s business empire instead.
Suddenly, a case that had been resting dormant came back to life when Trump was formally charged with 34 felony counts in a 16-page indictment. This implicated him in a “hush money” scheme involving pornographic actress Stormy Daniels and other charges.
Though the legal and political considerations should have prevented Bragg from pursuing this case, a statement of facts released by the DA’s office detailed other payments, such as those made to silence a Playboy model and the former doorman at Trump Tower who had a potentially damaging story.
These charges however, have not been met without obstacles. Legal experts are skeptical of the power of this case due to the lack of details involved in the indictment. This is leading observers to question if the indictments will stand in court.
Christopher Conroy, assistant district attorney, stated that the reimbursements were meant to “conceal an illegal conspiracy to undermine the integrity of the 2016 presidential election.” With the lack of legal specifics included in the indictment, it will be difficult for Bragg to explain the motives here.
Furthermore, the New York charge of falsifying business records can only be elevated to a more serious felony with the intent to defraud, or conceal another crime. Many are questioning what the charge being elevated is and lack of cohesive theory from the prosecution.
Despite the obvious shortcomings, Bragg has argued that the charges reflect “the bread and butter of [their] white collar work” and the fact that a 23-person grand jury voted to indict Trump should not be overlooked.
It will be important to see the developing result of this unprecedented case and potential implications of the legal theories presented. Whether or not Bragg has the case to make a strong stand against the former President and hold him accountable, will be left to be seen.
Covington & Burling LLP is a global law firm and offers services in many different practice areas. They are based in Washington DC and are highly specialized in election law. Robert Kelner, a lawyer in Washington DC working at Covington & Burling, tweets comments and represents many people and entities related to Donald Trump.
Richard Hasen is a professor at UCLA School of Law and is highly vocal on the topics of the former president. Hasen has served on multiple election commissions for the Federal Election Commission and has made pronouncements on Twitter regarding Trump and other political topics.