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Why Manhattan DA’s Hush Money Case Against Trump Doesn’t Look Sexy Anymore

Former President Donald Trump listens to speakers at the East Palestine Fire Department as he visits the area in the aftermath of the Norfolk Southern train derailment Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023.InternationalIndiaAfricaManhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s “hush money” case against Donald Trump is bursting at the seams, with US legal experts ridiculing the DA’s effort to put the former president behind bars, and some Democratic lawmakers warning against using the US court system as a pawn in a political game.Last Saturday, former President Donald Trump signaled that he could be arrested on March 21 in connection with an ongoing investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg concerning Trump’s alleged 2016 payment of $130,000 in hush money to adult movie star Stormy Daniels.Trump’s announcement triggered a lively debate, with US conservatives lambasting Bragg for pushing what they called a heavily politicized case.The potential indictment, mentioned by Trump, should have followed a series of testimonies by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, a disbarred lawyer and convicted felon who turned against his former client. While many saw Cohen as Bragg’s future “star witness” in a possible trial against Donald Trump, Cohen’s former legal adviser Robert Costello came forward on March 20 to testify before the Manhattan grand jury with more than 300 emails contradicting his former client’s statements. In addition, another letter on behalf of Cohen to the Federal Election Commission was unveiled shredding Cohen’s claims.AnalysisTrump’s Indictment Would be the Best 2024 Presidential Ad Ever, US Pastor Says21 March, 17:30 GMTNobody came for Trump on March 21, while on March 22 the Manhattan grand jury hearing evidence against Trump didn’t reconvene as scheduled. The testimony did not take place on March 23, either. While Bragg’s office declined to comment on the delay, the US press cited sources as saying that dissent is growing among the jury over the case, which is increasingly considered “weak.”Indeed, several prominent US lawyers who usually share their legal opinions on curious nationwide cases, subjected Bragg to ridicule, suggesting that his case against Trump is dead in the water.Bragg is allegedly trying to accuse Trump of the falsification of business records in reference to the $130,000 payment. According to the lawyers, this chargeable misdemeanor has already expired. Even if it were still relevant, it is nothing but a mere misdemeanor that could be brushed off by Trump’s defense. They turned attention to the fact that the federal authorities have repeatedly rejected the “hush money” case: first, when Trump was still in the Oval Office; second, after he left the White House.AmericasWhy Trump’s Indictment & Conviction Can’t Axe His 2024 Bid, But May Enhance His Election Odds19 March, 10:17 GMTBragg’s other reported plan to invoke a violation of federal campaign-finance law to turn the misdemeanor into a felony with a prison term of up to four years prompted a mixture of criticism and jokes from US legal experts, who recommended that the Manhattan DA focus on New York City’s soaring crime rates instead.Other legal commentators did not rule out that Trump could be indicted and convicted in New York, because the jury pool woulld be very much against him, but highlighted that the former president would ultimately win on appeal.To complicate matters further, Bragg has a long record of politically biased rhetoric against the former president. For example, he bragged about his experience of suing Trump while serving as the state’s chief deputy attorney general from 2017 to 2018. This led to the shutdown of the Donald J. Trump Foundation and the payment of $2 million to eight charities by Trump under a settlement. Bragg particularly told a December 2020 Democratic candidates forum: “It is a fact that I have sued Trump more than a hundred times.” He later told the US press while running to become the next Manhattan district attorney: “I certainly have more experience with [Trump] than most people in the world.”AmericasTrump Warns of ‘Potential Death and Destruction’ if Indicted in Stormy Daniels Case24 March, 13:35 GMTEven though on March 17, the US mainstream media quoted Bragg’s effort as challenging and bold, by the end of the past week, it appears that they have largely lost their appetite for the “hush money,” case as even Trump’s longstanding rival, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, refused to say that he has confidence in the DA’s probe.For his part, Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told the press on Thursday: “There’s many reasons not to support Donald Trump. There’s many reasons why Donald Trump should not be president again in the United States. But you should not allow the court system to be perceived as basically a political pawn as you will. I think it would basically have the reverse effect as some people would think — not for the good.”According to the US media, Democrats and some legal experts fear that the GOP could get involved into a tit-for-tat game and kick off similarly flimsy cases against top Democrats, fanning a vicious cycle of politicization. This political strife could erode the American people’s trust in the nation’s justice system, they say.Still, the emerging concerns don’t mean that the case is over: US legal experts expect that Bragg will push ahead with the case next week. His major challenge is to convince a grand jury that the case does hold water, American lawyers say.



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