Alvin Bragg argues for keeping Trump trial in state court

 June 2, 2023

Alvin Bragg is doing everything in his power to ensure that a prejudiced jury weighs the "hush money" case against Donald Trump.

The former president has asked to move the trial to federal court, where jurors may be drawn from the more moderate suburbs surrounding overwhelmingly liberal New York City, but Bragg filed a motion this week pushing to keep the case in state court.

Trump's lawyers filed their motion last month, which said the case "involves important federal questions."

Bragg's counterattack

The motion cites in part Bragg's bizarre prosecution theory, which marshals both state and federal election statues without specifying exactly what Trump did wrong.

"There has never been a prosecution under New York State law based on an alleged violation of election law about a federal election. And there are serious federal preemption issues with such a prosecution," the motion read.

Trump's lawyers also said that he should be tried in federal court because the alleged misconduct, hiding the true nature of reimbursement checks to Michael Cohen, happened while Trump was president.

In their filing, Bragg's office argued that Trump should be tried in state court because his alleged misconduct “had no connection to his official duties and responsibilities as President."

Trump's actions instead "concern his unofficial actions to falsify the records of his personal business, while reimbursing his ‘personal lawyer’ for pre-election expenditure, to conceal criminal conduct that largely occurred before his inauguration,” Bragg argued.

No fair trial

Trump has lambasted the case as a political effort to hamper his presidential campaign. The trial is scheduled for March, right in the middle of the primary season.

Bragg charged Trump last month with 34 individual felonies for "falsifying business records," but the prosecutor has stubbornly declined to clarify what statutes Trump violated, saying he isn't "entitled" to know the details.

State election charges do not apply because Trump has only ever been a candidate for federal office, Trump's lawyers say. And Bragg does not have the jurisdiction to bring federal election charges in the first place because he is a state prosecutor.

The federal courts must exercise "protective jurisdiction" because the indictment is "politically motivated and was brought because a local politician - here D.A. Bragg - disfavored President Trump's acts and policies as President of the United States," Trump's lawyers wrote.

There will be a hearing on June 27 to decide where the case will be tried, but it is proceeding in state court in the meantime.

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Thomas Jefferson
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