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NY Civil Lawsuit & Criminal Trial Against Donald Trump & Family

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  • #76
    Why Trump’s Hush Money Matters
    It was the currency of secret and illegal schemes to deceive voters.

    Donald Trump’s defenders would love for people to believe that the former president entered into totally normal, by-the-book, run-of-the-mill legal agreements with adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal to purchase their silence, and that he did so in a way that was agreeable and beneficial to all parties.

    But that’s not what happened.

    Trump risks indictment because, allegedly at his behest, an illegal scheme was undertaken to deceive the public at a critical moment before the 2016 election. That was the purpose of the “hush money” payments—not to enrich the women or settle a personal matter, but, in the words of the man who went to prison for arranging the deals, “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”

    A reminder of what really happened: In 2016, Daniels and McDougal each wanted to sell her own story about liaisons with Trump to the press. Daniels had previously pitched the media about her tawdry escapades with Trump, but after he became the Republican nominee in that year’s presidential election, both women understood that their stories now had significant news and monetary value. They had credible information relevant to the question of Trump’s fitness for office. Trump and his team understood the importance of suppressing the stories to help him win the election.

    In exchange for the rights to McDougal’s story, American Media Inc.—the parent company of the National Enquirer—in August 2016 promised her a six-figure compensation package plus a regular magazine column. But even though she agreed not to discuss her story with anyone else, it was not going to be published at all. It turns out that what McDougal had actually sold to the tabloid was her silence.

    Daniels, who also had been in talks with the Enquirer’s parent company, instead made a deal with Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen just two weeks before the election. She, too, pledged to keep quiet.

    And then Trump won the election.

    There is no question that these deals were illegally made. We know this because the men who set them up have admitted their guilt, and further admitted to having done so to assist Trump’s campaign.

    David Pecker—who at the time was the CEO of American Media Inc.—admitted as part of a non-prosecution agreement that “in cooperation, consultation, and concert with, and at the request and suggestion of” the Trump campaign, he engaged in what is called a “catch and kill” scheme to secure the rights to McDougal’s story with no intention of ever publishing it. In this, he came through on a commitment he made to the Trump campaign in August 2015 to seek out “negative stories about [the] presidential candidate’s relationships with women” so as to help prevent them from becoming public—another admission he made in the course of the non-prosecution agreement.

    Pecker’s testimony was then used to elicit a guilty plea from Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, who admitted to illegally securing payments to McDougal and Daniels to influence the election. Cohen spent more than a year in prison and a year and a half in home confinement for his crimes. The eight criminal counts to which he pleaded guilty included “two counts of illegal campaign contributions related to payments to women.” The Wall Street Journal summarized the nature of those violations:
    Under federal law, individual campaign contributions are limited to a total of $5,400 for each election cycle, including primary and general election votes, and corporate contributions are barred.

    Conspiring to cause an excessive campaign contribution of more than $25,000 is an indictable offense and a felony.

    While pleading guilty, Cohen directly implicated his former boss in the schemes to prevent the publication of Daniels’s and McDougal’s stories. As a sitting president, Trump could not be indicted, per guidance from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. But that was in 2018; he does not enjoy the same protection now. An effective criminal justice system would not look past Trump’s role in orchestrating these crimes.

    Still, among Trump’s friends and foes alike, it is commonly held that the hush money case isn’t as meaningful as the other investigations and legal challenges Trump is facing, including those pertaining to the January 6th insurrection, his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago, and the scandals related to his various businesses. (Kim Wehle summarizes the ongoing investigations here.) Therefore, some Trump critics think, maybe the Manhattan district attorney should hold off on indicting Trump so the marquee charges against him can be brought first.

    But had voters known about Trump’s indiscretions with Daniels and McDougal, Trump may never have become president in 2016. His margin of victory over Hillary Clinton was slim: Just 80,000 voters in three states put him over the top in the Electoral College.

    Say what you will about the questionable life decisions made by Daniels and McDougal, but they own their actions and who they are. (Anyone remember “Make America Horny Again”?) Yet even after two presidential campaigns, the same can’t be said for Trump.

    Team Trump had locked the McDougal story down in August 2016. And after the release of the Access Hollywood tape in early October 2016, Cohen quickly moved to reach an agreement with Daniels, too.

    The hush money did what Trump wanted it to do: It kept the women from talking. The Wall Street Journal published a story on November 4, 2016 that focused mainly on McDougal’s hush money but also mentioned that Daniels had previously sought to speak with ABC News about her relationship with Trump. The Trump campaign vociferously denied the allegations, and McDougal and Daniels did not comment. Since McDougal and Daniels were unwilling to go on record, the story didn’t get much traction at the time.

    So Trump barreled on toward the election on November 8. Despite his personal scandals, the GOP rallied around him, and he went on to the White House.

    The public would first learn of the Daniels payments through a Wall Street Journal article published in January 2018. When the story came out, Trump denied it, and Daniels claims that Cohen used “intimidation and coercive tactics,” such as initiating “a bogus arbitration proceeding” against her, to force her to sign a false statement denying the affair. (This is more than a step beyond whatever was entailed by the “hush agreement,” and as Colin Kalmbacher noted at the time, these alleged actions would have been clear ethical violations for Cohen.) Ronan Farrow soon followed the WSJ article about Daniels with his bombshell New Yorker story about the payments to McDougal.

    As a result of the combined reporting and public follow-up on their stories, the women took their cases to court, where it was established that the hush money agreements were pretty much bullshit and they were free to speak.

    A judge threw out Daniels’s lawsuit against Trump on the grounds that the nondisclosure agreement, which stipulated that she would owe $1 million to Trump every time she discussed her story in public, was not enforceable because Trump had never signed it. McDougal sued AMI, claiming she was misled into her hush agreement, and the company reached a settlement with her that freed her to discuss her story, although the company retains the right to some future profits resulting from her telling it.

    The same summer that Trump’s team was seeking to quash these stories, another high-ranking Republican official was starting a prison term because of a case involving hush money. The story of the terrible crimes and the prosecution of former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is very different from Trump’s story, but it nevertheless provides some useful points of comparison.

    When he was a high-school wrestling coach in the 1960s through 1980s, Hastert molested at least four boys. In 2010, one of them—referenced as “Individual A” in court documents—confronted Hastert, and the retired congressman agreed to pay the man $3.5 million to stay quiet about the abuse. A few years later, the FBI and IRS began investigating Hastert for making unusual bank withdrawals. While Hastert originally claimed to investigators that he was taking out the money because he didn’t trust the banks, his lawyer later told investigators Hastert had made the withdrawals because he was being extorted by Individual A.

    Recall that Trump also accused Daniels of extortion.

    It didn’t work for Hastert. He went to prison, but not for the reasons you might think.

    Due to the statute of limitations, Hastert could not be prosecuted for his crimes against boys, although he admitted to the abuse during his sentencing hearing. Rather, he was put away for illegally structuring the hush money payments. He reported to prison in June 2016, and ultimately served 13 months of a 15-month sentence.

    A common refrain from people uncomfortable with prosecuting Trump is that hush money payments are “nothing new,” as though that makes them less objectionable.

    But for just a moment, let’s set aside the questions of legality and instead think about the morality of hush money payments.

    Fox News has spent tens of millions of dollars to prevent female employees from publicly discussing the alleged sexual harassment they faced from former CEO Roger Ailes and former host Bill O’Reilly. And former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was tried for (but not convicted of) funneling hush money to his pregnant mistress during his 2008 campaign.

    The core purpose of hush money and nondisclosure agreements is to stop people from going on the record, and this often allows malevolent actors to continue to amass, enjoy, and abuse their power.

    It’s not an accident that the reporter who exposed the payments to Karen McDougal, Ronan Farrow, also penned the devastating exposé that brought down film executive Harvey Weinstein. Farrow showed how Weinstein used nondisclosure agreements and other legal threats to silence the women he abused, and Farrow’s reporting contributed to a new public awareness of how these tools were being used by powerful people to manipulate their victims into silence and submission. Spurred by Farrow’s reporting, other women felt encouraged to go on the record about Weinstein’s crimes, helping to launch the #MeToo movement; this new reckoning led to the criminal prosecution of Weinstein, who is now serving a 23-year prison sentence in New York. Last month, he was sentenced by a California court to serve an additional 16 years in prison for crimes he committed in that state.

    No one should kid themselves about who the hush money in such cases is meant to protect. I’ll give you a hint: It’s not the people being instructed to stay quiet.

    Which is why—in terms of morality as much as of justice, the law, and politics—Trump’s hush money matters. But you aren’t supposed to know that.

    Cue the usual whataboutisms....
    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


    • #77
      Manhattan DA: Trump created false expectation of arrest, Republicans interfered

      NEW YORK (Reuters) -New York City prosecutors on Thursday said Donald Trump created a false expectation of his arrest and led fellow Republicans in Congress to interfere with a probe of his hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

      On Saturday, the former president forecast he would be arrested on Tuesday in the probe by the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

      On Monday, three Republican committee chairmen in the U.S. House of Representatives from went on the offensive against District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, accusing him of abusing prosecutorial authority.

      As of Wednesday, a grand jury hearing evidence in the Stormy Daniels case had yet to issue an indictment, and on Thursday Bragg's office sent the committee chairmen a letter seen by Reuters.

      The letter said the chairmen's accusations "only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene."

      It confirmed that Bragg's office was "investigating allegations that Donald Trump engaged in violations of New York State penal law."

      If indicted, Trump would be the first U.S. president to face criminal charges in a court. He served as president from 2017-2021 and has mounted a third campaign for the White House while facing legal woes on several fronts.

      The grand jury, made up of U.S. citizens residing in Manhattan, convened in January. A former fixer for Trump said he made the payment to Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election at Trump's direction.

      Daniels, a well-known adult film actress and director whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she received the money in exchange for keeping silent about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006.

      Trump has denied he ever had an affair with Daniels, maintained his innocence and said the investigation was politically motivated.

      The response on Thursday from Bragg's office said the three Republican House committee chairmen had sought non-public information about a pending criminal investigation, which is confidential under state law.

      "The letter's requests are an unlawful incursion into New York's sovereignty," said the letter signed by the district attorney's general counsel, Leslie Dubeck. "Congress cannot have any legitimate legislative task relating to the oversight of local prosecutors enforcing state law."

      Trump also faces federal investigations stemming from his handling of government documents after leaving the White House and his attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat, as well as a state-level probe in Georgia into whether he unlawfully sought to reverse the 2020 election results in that state.

      How utterly shocking
      “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


      • #78
        Resurfaced video shows Giuliani blowing apart Trump’s new ‘evidence’ in Stormy Daniels case

        A resurfaced Fox News clip shows former New York City Mayor and Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani blowing apart the former president’s supposed new evidence in the Stormy Daniels hush money case.

        Mr Giuliani complicated Donald Trump’s defence in May 2018 when he appeared on Fox News admitting that Mr Trump was aware of the payments to women who claimed that they had had affairs with him.

        He said at the time that Mr Trump “did know the general arrangement” and that his attorney and fixer Michael Cohen was reimbursed for paying off Stormy Daniels with funds being “funnelled” through a law firm.

        Mr Cohen is now one of his former boss’s staunchest critics.

        Mr Trump rejected this notion at the time, saying that Mr Giuliani “started yesterday. He’ll get his facts straight”.

        Lawyer Ron Filipkowski shared the clip of Mr Giuliani from 2018 on Thursday.

        “I’d like to call, as a surprise witness for the prosecution, 2018 Rudy Giuliani, who BURIES Trump’s defense,” Mr Filipkowski tweeted.

        “They funnelled it through a law firm, then the president repaid it,” Mr Giuliani said at the time. “When I heard Cohen’s retainer while he was doing no work, I said, ‘that’s how (Trump’s) repaying it.’”

        Mr Trump is now arguing that a 2018 letter from Mr Cohen’s lawyer, which didn’t stop Cohen from being charged for making illegal campaign contributions to the 2016 Trump campaign, shows that he’s not guilty in connection to the Manhattan DA’s investigation into those same payments.

        Mr Trump took to Truth Social to share the letter from February 2018, which Mr Cohen’s lawyer at the time sent to the Federal Election Commission, saying that Mr Cohen using a $130,000 Home Equity Line of Credit to pay Ms Daniels, a porn actor, to remain silent regarding a 2006 affair she claims to have had with Mr Trump was a “private transaction” using Mr Cohen’s “own money”.

        Ms Daniels’s real name is Stephanie Clifford.

        “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed Mr Cohen for the payment directly or indirectly,” lawyer Stephen Ryan wrote at the time.

        Mr Trump said the letter was “totally exculpatory” and that the DA probe “must end”. Mr Trump may have falsified business records when he reportedly reimbursed Mr Cohen and logged the expense as a legal fee.

        But the Department of Justice did indict Mr Cohen, meaning the letter wasn’t “exculpatory” in the end, as Mr Trump claims.

        Mr Cohen was indicted for making an illegal campaign contribution and conspiring to violate campaign finance laws. He said in court that he made the payment on Mr Trump’s behalf and on his instruction.

        The former fixer has shared evidence showing that Mr Trump and his firm paid him back, meaning that it wasn’t a “private transaction”.

        “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


        • #79
          Trump, Turning Up Heat, Raises Specter of Violence if He Is Charged

          In an overnight social media post, former President Donald Trump predicted that “potential death and destruction” may result if, as expected, he is charged by the Manhattan district attorney in connection with hush-money payments to a porn star made during the 2016 campaign.

          The comments from Trump, made between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on his social media site, Truth Social, were a stark escalation in his rhetorical attacks on the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, ahead of a likely indictment on charges that Trump said would be unfounded.

          “What kind of person,” Trump wrote of Bragg, “can charge another person, in this case a former president of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting president in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a crime, when it is known by all that NO crime has been committed, & also that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our country?”

          “Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truely hates the USA!” the former president wrote.

          A spokesperson for Bragg did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In an email to his staff last week, Bragg wrote that the office “will continue to apply the law evenly and fairly, and speak publicly only when appropriate.”

          “We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York,” he added.

          Trump is also being investigated by the Justice Department in connection with his efforts to stay in power leading up to the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

          In a post this past Saturday, Trump erroneously claimed that he was to be arrested three days later and urged people to protest and “take our nation back.”

          Since then, he has called Bragg, the first Black district attorney in Manhattan, an “animal” and appeared to mock calls from some of his own allies for people to protest peacefully, or not at all.

          “Our country is being destroyed as they tell us to be peaceful,” Trump said in a post Thursday.

          Trump has also attacked Bragg for having received indirect financial support from billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

          So far, Trump’s calls for protests have been largely ignored, with just handfuls of people coming out for a demonstration Monday organized by some of his New York Republican allies.

          In a statement published Friday in Politico’s New York Playbook newsletter, a group of civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and former Gov. David Paterson, condemned Trump’s statements.

          This disgraceful attack is not a dog whistle but a bullhorn of incendiary racist and antisemitic bile, spewed out for the sole purpose of intimidating and sabotaging a lawful, legitimate, fact-based investigation,” they said. “These ugly, hateful attacks on our judicial system must be universally condemned.”

          Bragg is weighing charges against Trump in connection with hush money his former fixer and lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid late in the 2016 campaign cycle to Stormy Daniels, a porn star who claimed to have had an affair with Trump.
          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


          • #80
            The man is getting desperate as he is dialing up the threats which he always does when things get closer to him...


            • #81
              Trump Scoffs at Calls for ‘Peaceful’ Response to Arrest

              Donald Trump last Saturday told his supporters to “PROTEST” his impending arrest on charges stemming from the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. Republicans tried to clean up his mess either by rejecting the idea that people should protest, or insisting they should do so peacefully — but the former president doesn’t seem interested in peace.


              Trump has made half-hearted overtures to peaceful demonstration in the past, but there’s plenty of evidence suggesting he relishes violence carried out on his behalf — from reports that he was cheering on the Jan. 6 riot, to his affection for those convicted in the deadly assault on democracy, to the implication Thursday that peace isn’t enough to defend him against a bevy of criminal investigations.

              Trump has also called for various forms of law enforcement violence, praised a lawmaker for assaulting a reporter, and tweeted “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in response to the protests that followed George Floyd’s murder. Rolling Stone reported earlier this year that Trump wants to expand the use of the death penalty and publicly broadcast executions by firing squad and other barbaric means.

              Trump’s post on Thursday came amid a flurry of outrage over his impending arrest, which he initially claimed would take place on Tuesday but now isn’t likely to come before next Monday. Trump posted over 20 times before noon, repeatedly bashing everyone from Ron DeSantis, to Stormy Daniels, to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. He also praised screen legend Jon Voight’s golf swing.

              “He is doing the work of Anarchists and the Devil, who want our Country to fail,” the former president wrote of Bragg. “The ‘Horseface’ agenda is dead, even by the most Radical Left Haters, but he doesn’t care, he wants to go with it anyway.”

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              Hair Furor isn't even bothering with his usual token "be peaceful" CYA bullshit.

              Remember guys, it's "both sides" that to blame.
              “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


              • #82
                Powder, threat sent to Manhattan DA investigating Trump

                NEW YORK (AP) — A powdery substance was found Friday with a threatening letter in a mailroom at the offices of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the latest security scare as the prosecutor weighs a potential historic indictment of former President Donald Trump, authorities said.

                New York City police and environmental protection officials isolated and removed the suspicious letter, and testing “determined there was no dangerous substance,” Bragg spokesperson Danielle Filson said. The substance was sent to a city lab for further examination, police said.

                “Alvin, I am going to kill you,” the letter said, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation and did so on condition of anonymity.

                The discovery, in the same building where a grand jury is expected to resume work Monday, came amid increasingly hostile rhetoric from Trump, a Republican who is holding the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign Saturday in Waco, Texas.

                Hours earlier, Trump posted on his Truth Social platform that any criminal charge against him could lead to “potential death & destruction.”

                Trump also posted a photo of himself holding a baseball bat next to a picture of Bragg, a Democrat. On Thursday, Trump referred to Bragg, Manhattan's first Black district attorney, as an “animal.”

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                The building where the letter was found wasn’t evacuated and business mostly went on as usual, with prosecutors coming and going and bicycle delivery workers dropping off lunch orders. The building houses various government offices, including the city’s marriage bureau.

                Security has been heavy around the court buildings and district attorney's office in recent days as the grand jury investigates hush money paid on Trump's behalf during his 2016 campaign.

                Additional police officers are on patrol, metal barricades have been installed along the sidewalks and bomb sniffing dogs have been making regular sweeps of the buildings, which have also faced unfounded bomb threats in recent days.

                In a memo to staff Friday, Bragg said the office has also been receiving offensive and threatening phone calls and emails. He thanked his staff of nearly 1,600 people for persevering in the face of “additional press attention and security around our office“ and said their safety remains the top priority.

                “We will continue to apply the law evenly and fairly, which is what each of you does every single day,” Bragg wrote.

                The Rev. Al Sharpton said he will hold a prayer vigil for Bragg’s safety Saturday in Harlem. He and other Black leaders have condemned Trump’s rhetoric about Bragg and billionaire George Soros, who backed a group that supported Bragg’s campaign, as “not a dog-whistle but a bullhorn of incendiary and anti-semitic bile.”

                The grand jury, convened by Bragg in January, has been investigating Trump’s involvement in a $130,000 payment made in 2016 to porn actor Stormy Daniels to keep her from going public about a sexual encounter she said she had with Trump years earlier. Trump has denied the claim.


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                “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


                • #83
                  He is starting to have his facade crack!
                  “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                  Mark Twain


                  • #84
                    Former National Enquirer Publisher Testifies Again in Trump Inquiry
                    The grand jury investigating a hush-money case against the former president met again

                    The Manhattan grand jury weighing evidence about Donald J. Trump’s role in a hush-money payment to a porn star heard testimony on Monday from a crucial witness, but there was no sign an indictment had been filed, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

                    The witness, David Pecker, the former publisher of The National Enquirer, also testified in January. Since the grand jury was impaneled early this year by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, it has heard from at least nine witnesses — including Mr. Pecker, who has now appeared twice — and is expected to vote on an indictment soon.

                    It is unclear whether the grand jury took any action on Monday, but one of the people with knowledge of the matter said it had not voted on an indictment. Grand juries operate in secret, leaving the timing of indictments something of a mystery.

                    Mr. Pecker was a key player in the hush-money episode. He and the tabloid’s top editor helped broker the deal between the porn star, Stormy Daniels, and Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s fixer at the time.
                    Ever since Mr. Trump predicted his arrest a little more than a week ago, all eyes have turned to the grand jury.

                    And while the grand jurors could vote to indict the former president as soon as this week — in what would be the culmination of a nearly five-year investigation — the exact timing is subject to the quirks of the grand jury process in Manhattan, which include scheduling conflicts and other potential interruptions.

                    This particular grand jury meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, though it typically has not heard evidence related to the Trump investigation on Thursdays. The panel does not have to meet on each of those days, but only convenes when Mr. Bragg’s office summons the jurors.

                    The timing of an indictment might also depend on the jurors’ availability. Sixteen of the 23 grand jurors must be present to conduct any business (and a majority must vote to indict for the case to go forward). For the prosecutors to seek a vote to indict, the jurors in attendance that day must previously have heard all key witness testimony.

                    The prospect of an indictment has raised a number of questions about the contours of the potential case facing Mr. Trump, who would become the first former American president to be indicted.

                    Mr. Bragg's prosecutors are focused on the $130,000 payment to Ms. Daniels, who agreed to keep quiet about her story of an affair with Mr. Trump in exchange for the payoff. Mr. Cohen made the payment during the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign.

                    In recent weeks, Mr. Bragg’s office signaled to Mr. Trump’s lawyers that the former president could face criminal charges by offering him the chance to testify before the grand jury, people with knowledge of the matter have said. Such offers almost always indicate an indictment is near; it would be unusual for prosecutors to notify a potential defendant without ultimately seeking charges against him.

                    In New York, potential defendants have the right to answer questions in front of the grand jury before they are indicted, but they rarely testify, and Mr. Trump declined the offer.
                    Prosecutors have now questioned almost every major player in the hush-money episode, again suggesting that the district attorney’s presentation is nearing an end.

                    Mr. Trump has denied all wrongdoing — as well as any sexual encounter with Ms. Daniels — and unleased a series of escalating attacks on Mr. Bragg. Mr. Trump has referred to the investigation as a “witch hunt” and called Mr. Bragg, who is Black and a Democrat, a “racist” and an “animal.”

                    In a post this month on his social network Truth Social, Mr. Trump declared, without any direct knowledge, that his arrest was imminent, calling on his supporters to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” — rhetoric reminiscent of his posts in the lead-up to the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

                    The focus of Mr. Pecker’s testimony was unclear, but it is not unusual for a witness to be called before a grand jury a second time, and he could have provided valuable information for prosecutors. A longtime ally of Mr. Trump, he agreed to keep an eye out for potentially damaging stories about Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign.

                    For a brief time in October 2016, Ms. Daniels appeared to have just that kind of story. Her agent and lawyer discussed the possibility of selling exclusive rights to her story of a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump to The National Enquirer, which would then promise to never publish it, a practice known as “catch and kill.”

                    Mr. Pecker didn’t bite. Instead, he and the tabloid’s editor, Dylan Howard, decided that Mr. Cohen would have to deal with Ms. Daniels’s team directly.

                    And when Mr. Cohen was slow to pay, Mr. Howard pressed him to get the deal done, to prevent Ms. Daniels from revealing their discussions about suppressing her story. “We have to coordinate something,” Mr. Howard texted Mr. Cohen in late October 2016, “or it could look awfully bad for everyone.”

                    Two days later, Mr. Cohen transferred the $130,000 to an account held by Ms. Daniels’s attorney.
                    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


                    • #85
                      Trump's 'hush money' grand jury may have already voted. But the DA can slow-walk filing an indictment, experts say.
                      • It's possible the Trump 'hush-money' grand jury has already voted to indict, ex-prosecutors say.
                      • Prosecutors have the power to slow-walk the signing and filing of any indictment, they say.
                      • Controlling the timing would allow city officials to prepare for unrest before Trump learns his fate.
                      The Manhattan grand jury that has been weighing potential "hush-money" charges against Donald Trump since mid-January could have voted Monday — we just wouldn't know it yet, former prosecutors told Insider.

                      NBC reported Tuesday that the grand jury is not meeting for the rest of this week. But that could be because the panel is done with its work, ex-prosecutors said.

                      If they've already voted to indict, the district attorney's office does not need to file the indictment immediately. Instead they could slow-walk the post-vote process for days, forestalling the moment when Trump is officially indicted, as is in their discretion and power to do, the experts said.

                      A defendant is only officially indicted when the jury foreperson signs an actual hard-copy indictment and that document is then filed, under seal, with the court clerk's office.

                      Prosecutors often forestall these two crucial steps — signing and filing — former prosecutors told Insider.

                      In Trump's case, that would delay when prosecutors tell his legal team he's been indicted, if it comes to that.

                      And — assuming that Trump would then tell the world — a post-vote delay would give law enforcement the time needed to prepare for any unrest, again if it comes to that, ex-prosecutors said.

                      "If they've voted and haven't filed yet, we the public will never know that information," said attorney Diana Florence, for 30 years a white-collar crime prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorney's office.

                      "Given the unusual nature of this case — you're potentially indicting a former president — the logistics are unprecedented," Florence said. "So they're going to want as much time as possible."

                      The grand jury last met on Monday afternoon, hearing testimony from former Trump ally and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker.

                      If Pecker was indeed the prosecution's final, mop-up witness, as seems possible, then the grand jurors would still have had more than an hour to get instructions on the law, deliberate, and vote before going home Monday night.

                      Deliberations and voting often take as little as five minutes, ex-prosecutors say, because an indictment vote does not need to be unanimous and the standard of proof, a mere preponderance of the evidence, is so low.

                      "I think the longest deliberation I've ever had was an hour, and it was probably one of these monster cases," Florence said. "Lots of defendants, lots of evidence, wiretaps — those cases are going to take a while. But this is going to be a relatively short vote."

                      Once there's a vote to indict, the prosecutor can thank the grand jurors for their work and send them all home, but tell the foreperson to return, alone, to sign the indictment on any day that suits their timing, Florence said.

                      Indictments are always filed with the clerk immediately after they are signed by the foreperson, she said.

                      "You don't get it signed and then hold it back in your office," she said. "I've never seen anyone have the indictment signed and not file it immediately."

                      Only then, after that visit to the clerk's office, would Trump officially be indicted.

                      Trump is expected to be charged with multiple counts of falsifying business records, his lawyers have said. That's a low-level state felony that would allege he phonied up documents to hide a $130,000 hush-money payment made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 election.

                      Federal prosecutors have called the payment an illegal campaign contribution, meant to keep voters from hearing Daniels' bombshell claim that she'd had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied wrongdoing and any sexual encounter with Daniels.

                      Prosecutors would likely wait until right after an indictment is filed to let Trump's legal team know they need to bring him in.

                      "The probable course, after it's been filed, is to call the defense lawyer up and say we want your guy to surrender" on a particular date, predicted attorney John Moscow, another former white-collar crime prosecutor at the Manhattan district attorney's office.

                      "That's an option that he has," Trump's lawyer would be told of surrendering.

                      "If he doesn't choose to exercise that option, he doesn't have to," Moscow said, continuing to describe a hypothetical conversation between Trump's prosecutors and his lawyer. "He will, however, ultimately be arrested. Your call."

                      Days before this phone call is made, the district attorney will have already warned local law enforcement that big news is about to break and to be ready for a potential reaction.

                      Law enforcement agencies have already been conferring on how to handle the crowds that may gather upon learning of an indictment and, days later, of an in-person arraignment.

                      And already, the office of District Attorney Alvin Bragg has had to deal with hoax bomb threats and an anthrax scare.

                      Trump himself has stridently denied any wrongdoing in connection with the hush-money payment and has urged his supporters to protest any indictment. He has warned of "death and destruction" should an indictment come.

                      Trump has also vilified Bragg online as an "animal" and a "racist."

                      A recent post to Trump's Truth Social account showed a photo of the former president wielding a baseball bat, juxtaposed with a photo of Bragg's head. The post was soon deleted and Trump attorney Joe Tacopina has said the image was posted by a staffer, not by Trump himself.

                      As for Trump's potential surrender date — when he would hypothetically turn himself in, get his prints run and mugshot taken, and then plead not guilty in a lower Manhattan courtroom — it would likely be only a few days after Trump learns, through his lawyers, that he's been indicted (if, indeed, it comes to that).

                      "I wouldn't give him any time," Moscow said.

                      "Give him time to rally people from all over the country to come for a riot? I think that's a bad idea," he added. "You don't want him to be able to assemble a mob."

                      If I was Alvin Bragg, I would've been thinking weeks - or months - ahead on exactly when to indict him. As the article says, the logistics are/will be staggering. I'd like to think that's why NYPD installed those barriers a week ago...not only to be prepared, but to signal to the public well in advance that they're ready for Trump's deranged supporters in case they decide to FIGHT!!™
                      “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


                      • #86
                        Manhattan DA Insiders Worry the Trump Hush Money Case Is Weak Sauce

                        The indictment that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is currently seeking against former President Donald Trump—over his payment to silence a porn star about their sexual affair—is based on a crime that was so flimsy it was never viewed as a standalone criminal case, according to three attorneys who have worked on that investigation.

                        These insiders spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity, because they are not authorized to discuss the ongoing criminal investigation.

                        A grand jury may soon decide whether to indict Trump for faking business records and dodging campaign finance laws when he used his company—the Trump Organization—and his personal “fixer”—Michael Cohen—to quietly pay hush money to the adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep the revelation from derailing his 2016 presidential campaign. Journalists from around the globe are now staking out a courthouse in downtown New York City, awaiting the possible arrest of the former American president.

                        But that criminal probe is just a small slice of a much more expansive criminal investigation into Trump’s lies to banks, insurance companies, and government agencies.

                        Bragg, who inherited the investigation from his predecessor, Cy Vance Jr., shut down the wider operation soon after entering the office—and only recently revived this narrow portion as a single case.

                        His decision to bring back what has been deemed the “zombie” case surprised several insiders who have been briefed on the various iterations of the Stormy Daniels case over the years.

                        “The Stormy case was the easiest, the most straightforward, but had the risk of being nothing more than a misdemeanor. The business fraud case had more heft, but was complex and sprawling, and much more difficult. There was never any discussion of breaking them apart,” one source told The Daily Beast.

                        What initially drew prosecutors to the case was the way the Trump Organization paid back Cohen in separate checks broken up over a year, engaged in a monthly cover-up using this private business while Trump was in the White House.

                        But New York County prosecutors never considered pursuing the hush money case by itself, because, for one thing, investigators on the DA’s Trump team couldn’t even agree whether Trump committed a serious crime.

                        Faking business records is merely a misdemeanor in New York, and three sources said Vance wouldn’t greenlight an indictment that would involve a historic law enforcement action against a former president—all to land Trump less than a year at the city’s notoriously violent jail on Rikers Island.

                        Still, they determined this particular criminal charge could be bumped up to a felony if business records were faked to commit or hide a separate crime—a fact prosecutors wrestled with for months. A recent tell-all memoir by an ex-prosecutor who previously led that team, Mark Pomerantz, goes into vivid detail explaining how he had to resort to building a “creative legal theory” to pursue the case.

                        One version entailed this local DA attaching the state charges to the federal crime; after all, the whole idea was that Trump had failed to properly log the hush money payment publicly in closely scrutinized reports filed to the Federal Election Commission. But chaining state-level business records charges to an alleged federal crime would open Pandora’s Box, according to one source, because doing so would conspicuously highlight how this should have been a federal case instead.

                        And that was quite the risk, because the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York had already chosen not to indict Trump.

                        Federal prosecutors aggressively went after Cohen and even categorized Trump as “Individual-1,” but they stopped there. The feds gave immunity deals to get incriminating information from the Trump Organization chief financial officer who cut the checks, Allen Weisselberg, and the National Enquirer media executive who helped broker the hush money deal, David Pecker.

                        “The hush money case had no exact state charge. It should have been the feds,” said a second person who spoke to The Daily Beast.

                        Assistant district attorneys and their outside advisers were also unclear about whether this novel approach would even hold up in court.

                        “DANY would have to argue that the intent to commit or conceal a federal crime had converted the falsification of the records into a felony. No appellate court in New York had ever upheld (or rejected) this interpretation of the law,” Pomerantz wrote in People vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account. “There was a big risk that felony charges would be dismissed before a jury could even consider them.”

                        The DA team’s second version was even more of a stretch. This one involved attaching the business records charge to a bonkers underlying crime: viewing Stormy Daniels’ attempts to sell her story on the eve of the 2016 election as her trying to extort Trump. In his book, Pomerantz acknowledges this is “a somewhat awkward construction” that would act as if “Trump was, in effect, a blackmail victim.” That would turn Trump’s payment into money laundering, he figured. But the “soft-core extortion” theory, as Pomerantz called it, was hoisted on its own petard.

                        “Legally, the hush money payment had not become dirty money until [Stormy Daniels] received it, so neither Cohen nor Trump had committed money laundering by sending it,” Pomerantz wrote in his book.

                        The book says Vance twice commissioned outside lawyers—a rare step that’s nearly unheard of for such a law enforcement office—to research the matter. Vance decided against any criminal charges in late 2019 and revisited the decision in early 2021, but he ultimately decided against it.

                        The final nail in the coffin, though, seemed to come when Bragg inherited the case at the start of 2022. In his book, Pomerantz recalls a Feb. 9, 2022, meeting during which Bragg said he “could not see a world” in which he would use Cohen as a witness to indict Trump. On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the office said that four people who were present at the meeting disputed that recollection.

                        Joe Tacopina, one of Trump’s defense lawyers on this case, told The Daily Beast he wasn’t surprised that lawyers who have long been close to this investigation have their reservations about making the Stormy Daniels matter a standalone criminal case. “I’ve spoken to two FEC chairmen. It’s not even close. I don’t understand how they could do this. It’ll eventually get tossed aside,” Tacopina said.

                        However, skeptics could view Bragg’s recent decision to hire a top attorney at the Department of Justice as a way to overcome concerns that the state case can’t hold up on its own—or is somehow weakened by the DOJ’s decision to not charge Trump even after leaving office. Matt Colangelo, who left an extremely prominent position as the nation’s acting associate attorney general, previously worked on fraud investigations against Trump at the New York Attorney General’s Office.

                        And Bragg has apparently come around on Cohen, making him a key witness before the grand jury that’s poised to indict Trump any day now.

                        Still, these three sources cheered on Bragg for taking on the case—and noted that this could merely be the first iteration in a larger investigation.

                        Karen Friedman Agnifilo, who served as the previous DA’s top deputy for years, said the Stormy Daniels case merits more serious consideration than it has received so far.

                        “I disagree with people who think this is not an important case. This was Donald Trump’s first attempt at interfering in an election. He did it in 2016 and again in 2020. In terms of what it represents, I think it’s significant,” she said, noting that the DA was smart to move on this first because the statute of limitations might run out in May.

                        “The 11 payments to Michael Cohen—then recording false information in the business records—were done by a sitting president who was in the Oval Office at the time. I don’t know how anyone could view this as not serious,” she said.

                        I'm no DA insider but I feel exactly the same way. I'll be more than happy to be proven wrong but I personally think that Bragg screwed the pooch on this one.
                        “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


                        • #87
                          Manhattan Grand Jury Will Take a Break for a Month
                          The Manhattan grand jury looking at the hush-money payoff to Stormy Daniels is taking a month off, as originally scheduled. This pushes a possible Trump indictment back to late April or May at the earliest.

                          Is this a good thing for Donald Trump? Our guess is: No. This is a bad thing. The Manhattan case is hard for most people to understand. Paying someone money to keep their mouth shut is not a crime. The crime here is failing to report it as an election expense. If Trump's campaign had reported paying Stephanie A. Gregory (Stormy Daniels' maiden name) $130,000 for consulting services it would probably have been close to legal. For most people, this whole thing looks like a minor accounting error and is not a big deal. It is not even clear that D.A. Alvin Bragg could win this in court.

                          So why is pushing it back potentially a bad thing for Trump? In our view, there is now a better chance that Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis will come with the first indictment, and that case is crystal clear and a very big deal. Trump tried to intimidate Georgia state officials into overturning an election. And she has a rock-solid case. Not only does she have a tape of Trump making the infamous phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, but she can also put three Georgia officials who were in the office when the call was made on the stand to testify. An interesting question might be: "Did you feel Trump was trying to intimidate the secretary of state?" Since the secretary, his deputy, and his top lawyer were all there during the call, their answers will be tough to refute. The public will easily be able to understand this case and won't dismiss it as a mere accounting mistake.

                          Of course, we don't know when Willis will bring her case or who will be indicted, but there is every reason to believe Trump and Rudy Giuliani will be among the targets. The foreperson of the grand jury has basically said as much in (very) slightly coded language. Will Willis speed up her case to beat Bragg? That depends on how far she is and how close to being finished she is and she's not talking. But we think that if Willis goes first, the public reaction will be 10x worse than if Bragg goes first, simply because the crime is much more serious and the evidence and witnesses far stronger (a tape and three state officials in Georgia vs. a convicted felon and a porn star in New York). Trump had better hope that Willis is still dotting her i's and crossing her t's.

                          A new Quinnipiac Univ. poll bears this out. In it, 57% of the registered voters said that an indictment should disqualify Trump from running and 38% said it should not. The latter is Trump's base: about 38% of the electorate. On the other hand, 60% of the voters think Bragg's case is politically motivated. Together this says that if Bragg goes first, people will see the case as political but if Willis goes first, they will see it as disqualifying. Pretty different reaction. We don't know if Willis follows the polls, but if she does, this could be extra motivating to get the job done fast.

                          One other way in which the sequence of events (thus far) has been not so great for Trump. If he had actually been arrested on the day that he said he was going to be arrested—or anytime that week, really—then the base would have expressed maximum outrage. Whether that would have meant violence of some sort, we do not know, though it very well could have. But now there will be weeks (or more) in between "Trump warns he is going to be indicted" and "Trump is indicted." That's going to dull the outrage to some significant extent, as his base is going to have plenty of time to acclimate to the reality of his arrest. Some of them might still take to the streets, some of them might still get violent. But the odds of those things are considerably lower than they would have been if Trump had stayed quiet. Given that he wants outrage and violence, then his going off half-cocked was a rather significant mistake, and more proof that he does not think long-term and he most certainly is not playing 3-D chess. (V)

                          Hell, maybe John Dean was right....Bragg is getting out of the way for Georgia. If so, that's a good thing IMO.
                          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


                          • #88
                            ‘You can see the terror’: Trump’s tough guy posture ahead of looming indictment isn’t fooling these insiders

                            Ever since Donald Trump predicted he’d be placed under arrest last week, America has been on tenterhooks.

                            Every single New York City police officer was ordered to report to work in full uniform to deal with possible civil disturbances from Mr Trump’s fans in the event his prediction were to come true. And some, but not many, of the twice-impeached ex-president’s supporters showed up to protest outside the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the man who might be the first prosecutor to ever obtain an indictment against a former president for his investigation into a 2016 hush money scheme to keep adult film actress Stormy Daniels from spilling the beans about a decade-old liaison before voters went to the polls.

                            But Mr Trump’s prediction that he would be arrested on 21 March came and went without the dramatic scenes he had envisioned.

                            And since then, Mr Trump’s public statements have alternated between pugnacious attacks on Mr Bragg (plus the other two prosecutors leading investigations into him) and suggestions that the Manhattan prosecutor’s case against him has fizzled out. It was, of course, the ex-president himself who touched off the frenzy over his own impending arrest — with no evidence to support his claim except media reports, according to a Trump campaign spokesperson.

                            Recent reporting in The New York Times and other outlets note that the former president has said he relishes the idea of being arrested and paraded before the press in a “perp walk” spectacle because he believes it will juice his support in the Republican presidential primary and solidify his chances of returning to the White House after next year’s general election.

                            But multiple people who have been close to Mr Trump in the past and understand his way of thinking say the confidence he projects in interviews and in public appearances belies a complete inability to grasp what it will mean for him to become a defendant in a criminal case.

                            These former Trumpworld insiders told The Independent the ex-president’s decades of evading responsibility for his actions and his past ability to neutralise legal jeopardy with a combination of bluster and litigation tactics has left him incredibly ill-equipped for what could lie ahead of him if any of the grand juries hearing evidence against him votes out an indictment.

                            Mary Trump, clinical psychologist and niece of former president Donald Trump, appears on MSNBC.

                            One such ex-insider is Mary Trump, the bestselling author and trained clinical psychologist who happens to be Mr Trump’s niece.

                            Dr Trump, who in her 2020 tell-all Too Much and Never Enough said her uncle’s “pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neuropsychological tests that he’ll never sit for,” told The Independent in a phone interview that the bravado he might be presenting to receptive journalists will vanish as soon as he is actually charged with a crime.

                            “I think a large part of what he does is that he preamps and he deflects … his ego is very, very fragile, and much of what he does is in service to protecting it, and one of the greatest dangers for him is to be humiliated,” she said.

                            She also called reports that her uncle relishes the idea of a perpwalk “absurd”.

                            “I don't care who you are, that's an incredibly vulnerable place to be. And it's not like they walk you through it, and then you can decide [you] don't want to do this. There's no agency there, it will be the most vulnerable and powerless … he's probably ever been in his life,” she said. “And last, I checked, being fingerprinted, and having your mugshot taken is not a sign of strength”.

                            Given Mr Trump’s status as an ex-president and his full-time Secret Service protective detail, the experience of being charged with a crime wouldn’t be the same as your average criminal defendant. While he’ll still be fingerprinted and photographed, it’s unlikely that he’ll be placed in handcuffs, and his attorneys have already indicated that he’ll voluntarily present himself to New York authorities if charged rather than force an extradition fight in Florida courts.

                            Still, Dr Trump said her uncle’s psychological disposition makes it impossible for him to understand that the charges against him would be real, rather than just something political that can be willed away with sheer bluster.

                            Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Waco, Texas.

                            “Part of the problem for him right now, is that there's this extent to which this is all incomprehensible,” she said.

                            She noted that for many of his foes, it has always appeared as if the “walls are closing in” on him and accountability is just around the corner, only to see him slip away from being called to account for his behaviour. She added that his ability to evade consequences has left him ill-prepared for what may be to come.

                            “He has to prepare for something he’s never experienced before. It’s alien to him, and it also embodies the one thing that is the most terrifying to him — being humiliated. But on the other hand, he can’t possibly process that it’s going to happen because it’s never happened. So he’s at a real deficit right now,” she said.

                            That Mr Trump has spent decades avoiding becoming embroiled in criminal prosecutions is beyond dispute. That ability to evade the law’s reach was supercharged during his presidency by a longstanding Department of Justice policy forbidding federal indictments of sitting presidents, which is why the special counsel who investigated his campaign’s contacts with the Russian government, ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller, twisted himself in knots in his written report and congressional testimony on the matter of whether the then-president obstructed justice by trying to thwart the investigation in multiple ways.

                            But Mr Trump is no longer president, and despite suggestions by Republicans in the House of Representatives that it’s somehow improper to charge a former president or presidential candidate with a crime, the shield from accountability he once enjoyed has vanished.

                            Multiple federal courts have also made clear in recent weeks that his attempts to claim some form of executive privilege to keep former aides from testifying before a pair of federal grand juries overseen by Mr Smith aren’t worth much under Supreme Court precedents dating back to the Watergate era.

                            Attorney George Conway, ex-husband of former Trump White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, speaks at Georgetown Law School

                            George Conway, the conservative attorney who Mr Trump once asked to run the Justice Department’s civil division, told The Independent Mr Trump’s supposed eagerness to become a martyr by facing indictments is “complete bulls***”.

                            “You can see the terror in his Truth Social posts — he is absolutely out of his mind about this. And it may turn out that he does want to make a spectacle of it in order to rally his troops to appear tough. It will look weak for him to be hauled into court in handcuffs. So, you know, he's got a lose-lose proposition,” he said.

                            Mr Conway, who gained significant notoriety as a critic of the ex-president while his then-wife Kellyanne Conway was serving as a senior aide to Mr Trump, said usual tactics of delay and intimidation that the ex-president has deployed in civil proceedings are not going to fly once the ex-president is on the wrong end of a criminal case against him.

                            The veteran litigator also noted that as a criminal defendant, Mr Trump would potentially have to deal with something else he’s never before encountered — a judge with the power to impose conditions of pre-trial release that could limit his ability to travel and speak freely about his case, or even take his freedom entirely should he decide to flout any restrictions that are imposed on him.

                            While both New York and the federal court system default to releasing defendants before trial, a judge’s decision to release a defendant almost always comes with conditions.

                            In the federal system, this means Mr Trump will almost certainly be required to notify courts of his travel schedule in advance, and he may possibly need permission to travel.

                            Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

                            One person who spoke with The Independent about the ex-president’s mindset — a former associate who enjoyed a close relationship with the Trump family for years but who asked not to be named because of Mr Trump’s tendency to lash out and send his followers after his critics — said it will be nigh-impossible for the former president to abide by even the most lenient conditions because he doesn’t understand the law like normal people.

                            The former Trump family confidante said Mr Trump’s moral compass is so non-existent that he can’t fathom how and why a judge would be able to tell him what to do, what he can and can’t say, or where he can go.

                            Add to that the ex-president’s contempt for the very idea that he would be held to account by prosecutors in the first place, and you get a high probability that Mr Trump ends up on the wrong side of a gag order — or worse.

                            Mr Conway, who spent most of his career practicing law in New York courts, told The Independent it would take “a certain amount of courage” on the part of whatever jurist is assigned Mr Trump’s case to keep him from using his usual tactics of intimidation and bluster to poison any potential jury pool and incite his supporters against prosecutors, jurors, or even the courts.

                            But he said there are judges who are fully capable of dealing with the ex-president’s conduct, citing the example of the New York federal judge who recently issued an order permitting the jury in writer E Jean Carroll’s defamation and rape lawsuits against Mr Trump to remain anonymous.

                            New York City Police police officers with the Emergency Service Unit truck stand guard outside the Manhattan Criminal court, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in New York. A New York grand jury investigating Trump over a hush money payment to a porn star appears poised to complete its work soon as law enforcement officials make preparations for possible unrest in the event of an indictment.

                            That judge, Lewis Kaplan, is “not taking any crap” in Ms Carroll’s lawsuit, he said, adding that Judge Kaplan or someone like him would be the “perfect” candidate to hear any case against the ex-president.

                            “I think that in order to keep this guy under control, from fomenting violence, a judge is going to have to show some real cojones,” he said, while still balancing the former president’s First Amendment rights with the need to protect the integrity of the court system.

                            “Because he's a criminal defendant, and [he] can affect that the jury, a judge can muzzle [him] … but it’s a very tricky position.”

                            Mr Conway added that he would “bet money” that Mr Trump will be indicted even as he goes on to claim the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination.

                            Each of the former Trump associates who spoke to The Independent agreed that it’s entirely possible that the former president’s quickest path to incarceration runs through violating a judge’s order between his indictment and trial.

                            Former Trump Attorney Michael Cohen arrives at the district attorney's office to complete his testimony before a grand jury on March 15, 2023 in New York.

                            But one former confidante, Mr Trump’s ex-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, said his former client would do more than push the envelope on what he’s allowed to say and do once he’s indicted.

                            When reached by text message, he said Mr Trump is “incapable of processing accountability”.

                            “Becoming a criminal defendant and having to be processed and mug-shotted poses a direct conflict to his inflated self-image and fragile ego,” he said.

                            Cohen, who spent more than a year in federal custody and two more years on home confinement after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the same hush-money scheme Mr Bragg may charge the ex-president over, said Mr Trump “fully understands” that his usual methods of threats, delays and shouts about alleged witch hunts aren’t working, and suggested that knowledge makes him more dangerous.

                            “It is the reason he has ramped up attacks on anyone and everyone he deems a threat,” he said.

                            The former attorney, who may be a key witness in any case Mr Bragg brings against Mr Trump, also said his former employer won’t react well to any judge placing any conditions on him. Cohen has testified before the Manhattan grand jury on more than one occasion.

                            “Donald will play the victim and call on his supporters to protest in solidarity with him. He will lie to his supporters, grift off the situation and call for civil unrest,” he said.

                            “Donald would rather see the country burn than accept responsibility”.

                            “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”


                            • #89
                              First former president to get criminally charged. We'll see if it sticks, but good to see powerful people being held to account.

                              I will say, I wish they would spell it out in simple terms what he has been charged for. What has he done illegally? In plain terms. What are the ramifications of it? It won't change anyone's mind on him-- it would just move from 'the charges are political' to the 'what about so and so'- but that should be the conversation.

                              All of this conversation about 'will it make him more popular if he is charged' is almost a tacit admission it is political. I know it's hard for the stupid media to not speculate because it's good for viewership, but you're seeing in the polls its just fueling his rise again. What was done illegally? That should the conversation.
                              Last edited by statquo; 30 Mar 23,, 23:51.


                              • #90
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                                “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”