Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg's unprecedented criminal case against Donald Trump continues to receive tepid reviews, with even the far-left New York Times raising doubts about the legal underpinnings.
The anti-Trump newspaper acknowledged the deeply "unusual" nature of the "hush money" case, which it said stands virtually alone from other cases involving the same felony charges for "falsifying business records."
The title of the piece says Bragg is pursuing a "common charge" with a "rarely used strategy."
Bragg is upgrading what would normally be misdemeanor charges by alleging Trump concealed hush money payments to cover up another crime -- except Bragg hasn't actually brought other charges beyond the 34 felonies for "falsifying records."
"Nearly every other defendant indicted by Mr. Bragg's office for falsifying business records was charged in state court with another crime," the Times report said.
In all "but two" cases the Times reviewed, a defendant who was charged with a felony for falsifying business records was charged with additional crimes.
While Bragg hasn't formally named other crimes in Trump's case, he has hinted at other crimes, such as federal election law violations. The only problem is that Bragg is not a federal prosecutor.
And according to Bragg's pretzel logic, Trump may have violated state election law, even though Trump was a federal candidate for office.
The Times helpfully hints that in the worst-case scenario, Bragg could "fall back on" charging Trump with a tax crime. The paper searched far and wide for an "expert" to make Bragg's case sound semi-normal, and they came up short.
"My view is that while the law allows the prosecutor to play it close to the vest, it seems that best practice and fairness requires they reveal - to the extent they know - what the crimes are," Marc F. Scholl, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan DA's office said.
"And because it's a matter of such public interest," he added, "you really want to show the world you're not hiding anything."
The Times says Bragg has "a keen eye for legal strategy but something of a blind spot for the way his decisions are perceived by the public." That may be the understatement of the century.
The polling is clear: most Americans see Bragg's case as a political hatchet job. It looks like the Times is playing catch-up with public opinion.
Trump's lawyers filed a motion last week to move the case to federal court -- an attempt to reclaim some semblance of fairness by broadening the jury pool outside of ultra-liberal Manhattan -- citing, in part, Bragg's "novel" theory.