Trump on the Brink
Standing at the edge of arrest by his own reckoning, former President Donald J. Trump faces the prospect of getting charged with a violation of the business records act, says InsiderNJ legal analyst Joe Hayden.
Maintaining false business records constitutes a misdemeanor, but if the defendant committed the act in furtherance of a felony and/or attempted to write it off as a legal expense, the former president could face sterner penalties if charged.
Trump might have also violated election law by failing to report the payment, says Hayden.
Trump tweeted that he expects the South District of New York to arrest him tomorrow (Tuesday) and urged his supporters to demonstrate as a counterweight to what the former president describes as a political witch hunt.
“Protest, take our nation back!” said Trump.
Hayden said the case concerns Trump’s alleged directive to his attorney Michael Cohen to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet during the 2016 presidential campaign about their alleged sexual encounter.
The New York Times reported that Cohen said he used his own money to pay Daniels $130,000, and emphasized that it was not a campaign contribution. He didn’t specifically rule out the possibility that Trump reimbursed him for the payment. In 2018, Trump acknowledged that Cohen represented him in the Daniels case. In addition, following Cohen’s 2018 conviction on charges of tax evasion and campaign finance violations, Trump said the payment to Daniels had nothing to do with campaign funds.
Sources say Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “has been presenting evidence to a grand jury about the payment, which came in the waning days of Trump’s 2016 campaign in exchange for Daniels’ silence about an affair she said she had with Trump a decade earlier,” according to Reuters.
Hayden described the prospective charges as “the least serious in the galaxy of Trump potential crimes.”
“It is less serious than the Georgia case, less serious than Mar-a-Lago and the classified documents, and less serious than the sedition conspiracy [in connection with Trump’s actions on Jan. 6th, 2001],” Hayden said. “If the case survives a challenge and goes to a jury, there is a substantial chance the jury can obtain a conviction.”
Hayden described the delicate nature of the case as the equivalent of spinal surgery.
He questioned the basis for the Trump defense, noting that a lawyer – in this case Cohen – going rogue makes no sense, because he would never have advanced the money unless directed by a client, in this case Trump.
Of the possible pending indictment of the former president, “I believe it’s going to happen,” said Hayden. “Trump didn’t leak Tuesday unless he’s scared; unless he thinks it’s going to happen.”
Politically, “It could be a short term benefit for him if he can gin up the MAGA people and make it look like an old case and the Manhattan DA is piling on. A lot of people say private sexual conduct is their own business.”
The bigger implications though involve possible action by the feds and other arms of law enforcement in pursuing – and closing – the other cases pertaining to Trump. “This may prompt [Attorney General Merrick] Garland to put things into high gear and put the pedal to the metal.”
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Joe Hayden is a political hack, and probably not a great attorney at that. Smarter attorneys, including Trump’s own defense counsel, Harvard Law School and Touro Law School professors, and other smarter legal experts than Joe Hayden are all saying there is NO case, since Bragg already pulled the case from the Grand Jury once before, they have no proof and their star witness is a convicted perjurer and liar. Based on Hayden’s own comments, he makes himself look as dumb as a rock.
Trump’s lawyers say that the $130,000 payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels was nothing more than extortion as it happened as Trump was beginning his campaign for President in 2015. Trump paid off to shut her up. Daniels didn’t shut up, violated her NDA, and was sued by Trump and lost. She now has to pay Trump $300,000.
Moreover, Bragg’s decision to try and move forward with an already failed case for political means, is election interference now that Trump is a declared candidate. That’s a felony against Bragg. And, you can bet that Trump, being a media star himself, will use this any fake indictment, false arrest, false imprisonment, mug shot to his advantage to show the American people we are being attacked by Communist stooges.
Further, three (3) House Committee Chairs are demanding Bragg show up before Congress to testify under oath how he used Federal Funding to fight crime, but is instead using the funding for political persecution of a former President of the United States, who is running for office again.
So, Joe Hayden is a moron and a fool in showing his Left-Wing Democrat-Communist bent. His comments aren’t based on facts or law, and he makes himself look no better than the idiot Bragg.