NJ civil rights attorney says it’s doubtful Trump charges will stick

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges that Trump’s lawyer paid off two women and a former doorman to keep them quiet.

Matt Trapani

Apr 5, 2023, 12:32 AM

Updated 476 days ago

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Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to 34 criminal charges alleging that he falsified business records to conceal criminal conduct and deceive voters in the run-up to his victory in the 2016 presidential election.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges that Trump’s lawyer paid off two women and a former doorman to keep them quiet. He alleges that the lawyer was reimbursed with business funds disguised as legal payments. It is a case that federal prosecutors and Bragg’s predecessor did not pursue.
“Since that time, we’ve had more evidence available to the office and opportunity to meet with additional witnesses,” Bragg said.
But an attorney from New Jersey says he is not sure if the charges will stick. Bruce Afran is one of New Jersey’s leading civil rights attorneys. He has defended everyone from convicted police officer killers to parents fighting against mask mandates.
“Just because people don’t like Donald Trump doesn’t give us the right to squeeze the law and twist the law to get an indictment. That’s what banana republics do,” Afran says.
Afran points out that falsifying business records is a misdemeanor in New York, typically punished by a fine or less than a year in jail.
“To try to contort it into a felony is a real stretch,” he says. “I think this is an enormous reach to try and get at a former president.”
Afran says that if Trump was tried, convicted and even imprisoned, he could still run for president in 2024 and win.
New York prosecutors say they want the trial, in this case, to take place in January 2024, right on the eve of the New Hampshire presidential primary.


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