New York prosecutors have failed so far to directly link Trump to any alleged crimes

 May 10, 2024

Former President Donald Trump is currently standing trial in New York on charges that he falsified business records related to the 2017 reimbursement of his then-lawyer's "hush money" payments to silence allegations of extramarital affairs ahead of the 2016 election.

Yet, while prosecutors have been successful at embarrassing Trump with gratuitous and irrelevant testimony about the alleged affairs, they have been unsuccessful thus far in definitively linking him to any actual crimes, according to the Washington Examiner.

Of course, a big part of the problem there is that prosecutors still haven't fully specified what crimes the former president is actually charged with, given that business records falsification is typically a misdemeanor unless done to conceal some other crime, as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has alleged without providing any additional details on what that other crime is.

Where is the prosecution's "direct evidence" linking Trump to alleged crimes?

The Examiner noted that prosecutors have called several witnesses over the past couple of weeks, some more exciting than others, and submitted "dozens of records into evidence," yet have fallen short so far in their goal of directly tying former President Trump to any alleged felonious activity.

DA Bragg's prosecutors have questioned the labeling of the 2017 reimbursement payments to ex-personal attorney Michael Cohen as "legal expenses," insisting otherwise that they were compensation for the hush money payments, but a Trump Organization accounting official explained that the label was the most applicable of limited options in the company's accounting software and was selected by them, not Trump.

Prosecutors have also failed to show any proof that Trump was even fully aware of the repayment schedule for Cohen, much less that he directly ordered it, nor have they been successful in attempting to prove that the 2017 payments to Cohen somehow improperly influenced and interfered with the 2016 election that occurred months earlier.

"The thing that the defense has done a great job at is distancing Trump from that crime," local attorney Karen Agnifilo, who previously worked in the Manhattan DA's Office, told the Examiner.

She further pointed to the lack of any "direct evidence that Donald Trump had any knowledge or intention to falsify the business records, and that’s what the crime is," and added, "So far, there’s been no direct evidence that Donald Trump knew that they were going to record it differently in the books and records. That I think is unfortunately going to rely on Michael Cohen" -- the prosecution's credibility-challenged star witness, who has a history of dishonesty, including being convicted at the federal level of perjury.

What alleged crimes is Trump even charged with? Nobody knows

Separately, the Examiner's Byron York marveled in a recent op-ed about the utter "insanity" of the Trump trial, in that, "We’re in the middle of the trial, with Trump facing a maximum of more than 100 years in prison, and we don’t even know what the charges are!"

York recapped how DA Bragg elevated the typically misdemeanor falsification of business records charges, for which the statute of limitations expired in 2019, to felonies by alleging a cover-up of some other unspecified crime, but even those supposed felonies would have already been expired if not for New York adding an extra year to the statute of limitations to compensate for delays caused by the 2020 pandemic.

He is certainly not alone in calling out the clearly unconstitutional vagueness of the prosecutorial effort against Trump, and highlighted an informative National Review article from former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy about exactly that -- how Bragg's prosecution of Trump on unspecified charges likely violates the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment as well as a provision within New York's constitution that requires felony charges to be explicitly spelled out.

York also pointed out that even supporters of Bragg's efforts to convict and imprison Trump, such as the biased legal experts at left-leaning Lawfare, have found it difficult to fully explain exactly what other crimes Trump is alleged to have committed in addition to falsifying business records.

Other three criminal cases now indefinitely delayed

Apart from the ongoing New York trial, an NPR report on Thursday revealed the "mostly positive legal news" that former President Trump has received this week in two of the other three criminal cases he is facing -- primarily that none of them are expected to go to trial before the election in November.

The Georgia Appeals Court agreed to review a ruling that allowed Fulton County DA Fani Willis to remain on the election racketeering case, undoubtedly delaying that case's tentative August trial start date, while District Judge Aileen Cannon just indefinitely delayed the start of Trump's federal classified documents trial, while Trump's federal election-related trial in Washington D.C. has been on hold since December while the Supreme Court determines whether former presidents retain some level of immunity from prosecution for official acts during their tenure.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.