In the freshly revived Stormy Daniels case, Manhattan prosecutors indicate that indictments of Donald Trump are forthcoming. In an evident attempt to prepare the news cycle, “sources familiar with the matter” disclosed their intentions to The New York Times.
Prepare for another round of “the walls are closing in” journalistic coverage.
Breaking News: Manhattan prosecutors have signaled to Donald Trump that he could face criminal charges, an indication that they are nearing an indictment. https://t.co/dNEEO7m5rT pic.twitter.com/TZRJgw9V3x
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 9, 2023
The Manhattan district attorney’s office recently signaled to Donald J. Trump’s lawyers that he could face criminal charges for his role in the payment of hush money to a porn star, the strongest indication yet that prosecutors are nearing an indictment of the former president, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.
The prosecutors offered Mr. Trump the chance to testify next week before the grand jury that has been hearing evidence in the potential case, the people said. Such offers almost always indicate an indictment is close; it would be unusual for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, to notify a potential defendant without ultimately seeking charges against him.
This is a situation about which I’ve written several times, yet it remains poor. Even the New York Times acknowledges that it is based on a “untested” and “risky” legal theory that seeks to connect many laws, some of which may not truly be connected. If convicted, the maximum term is four years in jail.
The second issue is who the prosecution would have to call as a witness. Given that he has stated in the past that Trump instructed him to pay off Daniels, Michael Cohen would likely be the star witness. This would subsequently be used as proof that the payment was improperly categorized (the case ultimately centers on the alleged falsification of records). Cohen, though, is a former criminal with a grudge. Trump’s attorneys will undoubtedly have a field day attempting to undermine his credibility.
The fact that prosecutors must prove that Trump intended to commit a second felony by paying the hush money further complicates matters. This is the basis for enhancing the charges from misdemeanor to felony. According to their reasoning, the cash became a “improper donation” since it allegedly assisted Trump’s campaign. In New York, that would be a felony, but again, this seems like a very flimsy argument.
Having said that, I can spend all day dissecting stuff on the Internet. What counts are the opinions of the judge and the jury, and a Manhattan jury will be a difficult draw for the former president. Despite this, the evidence appears to be quite weak considering that even the far-left prosecutor halted the inquiry at first. This current investigation suggests that the indictment will be the penalty, rather than a conviction.
This was always the objective of Trump’s 2024 statement, which was to expand. Democrats are aware that indicting the former president will only unite Republicans around him during the primary while diminishing his chances of winning the general election. It’s a move with no downside, and it won’t be the last. Indictments in the special counsel probe of the Department of Justice are also anticipated, and they will be similarly politically timed.