Image default

What strategy is the prosecutor pursuing?

The prosecution's arguments in the hush money trial against former US President Trump are complicated. Because it's not about the accusation of payment itself. Does prosecutor Bragg even have a chance?

Antje Passenheim, WDR

About a year ago, Manhattan's district attorney calmly took out his papers. Alvin Bragg steps up to the microphone and announces his decision: Donald Trump has been charged with 34 counts of first-degree falsification of business documents.

He also incited others to do so. Trump claimed to have paid his then-lawyer Michael Cohen for his legal work. That was simply wrong.

Neither the FBI nor Bragg's predecessor, the combative chief prosecutor Cyrus Vance, had touched this hot potato and done what the renowned Harvard lawyer is now doing: linking Trump's alleged financial fraud to an election conspiracy.

“Usually a minor offense”

The now 50-year-old Democrat Bragg is celebrated by many as the first to dare to impeach a former US president. But there are just as many who say Bragg is walking on thin ice.

It is a very special charge, says former public prosecutor Annemarie McAvoy: “Normally this would be a minor offense. Only in the context of a criminal offense would a false booking itself become a criminal offense. And they allude to the fact that this crime is linked to the financing of… “It's a very strange way to go about the election campaign.”

“Very constructed”

It's about $130,000 that Trump had paid to ex-porn star Stormy Daniels through his then-lawyer Michael Cohen. This was intended to ensure that Daniels remained silent about an alleged affair with Trump shortly after his wife Melania gave birth to their son.

According to his accuser, Trump falsified the financial statements in order to keep information that could harm him during his election campaign from becoming public. Trump's payments to Daniels also exceeded federal campaign finance limits.

Even controversial among Democrats

This is very contrived, says Bill McGurn, speechwriter for former US President George W. Bush, to the Wall Street Journal: “Alvin Bragg wanted to indict Donald Trump. He came across the misdemeanor. And then he mixed all these legal theories together. So that himself Democratic lawyers and observers criticize this.”

Former Democrat advisor Julian Epstein even spoke on the conservative TV channel Fox News about an abusive prosecution by a prosecutor in order to confront Trump. According to his critics, Bragg is stretching the legal doctrine too much. In a way that could make it difficult for the twelve jurors to reach a unanimous verdict. That would be necessary so that the process doesn't collapse.

Bragg: “Just judge me by the facts”

Bragg defends his charges. The allegations against Trump are nothing unusual in the country's financial capital – and here everyone is treated under the same law: “For over 20 years, as a prosecutor, I have investigated everyone, Democrats, Republicans, independents, former prosecutors, an FBI agent and mayor,” he says. “I only focus on the facts, regardless of party: What did who do it – and what does the law say about it?”

Colleagues who know him believe Bragg. The first black prosecutor in Manhattan wouldn't touch anything that would embarrass him, they say. And some think Trump's accuser could have a few more surprises in store for the next few weeks.

Antje Passenheim, ARD New York, tagesschau, April 19, 2024 5:05 p.m

Related posts

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.