Malicious Prosecution + Election Interference = Lawfare

Today in Manhattan, the Republican nominee for the office of President of the United States is defending himself against criminal charges alleged by the Manhattan (New York County) District Attorney, Alvin Bragg.

Bragg, like Letitia James, New York Attorney General, ran for office on the platform of holding Donald J Trump “accountable” for all his bad actions — which bad actions at the time he was unable to elucidate. Bragg, like James, had his man and now had to find his crime.

I will walk you down the pathway to show how we got here. Bear with me.

What exactly are the charges, Big Red Car?

The charges are what is called “novel” in the legal racket meaning they are sort of bespoke crimes fashioned specifically to trip up that wily Trump character. Beep beep!

The Orange Man is charged with falsifying business records — specifically, misrepresenting the description of 34 invoices (11), checks (11), and accounting general ledger records (12) in total.

The words used to describe these items were “legal expenses” and the charge is that those words are false and that Trump knew they were false and he personally effectuated those descriptions.

The exact wording is: “Falsifying business records in the first degree” which is a Class E felony with a 5-year statute of limitations. It carries a fine of 2X actual financial loss (District Attorney Bragg does not allege any financial loss) plus up to 4 years in prison.

Here is the New York statute, read it carefully:

A person is guilty of falsifying business records in the first degree when he commits the crime of falsifying business records in the second degree, and when his intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.

Bragg alleges that Trump falsified business records to conceal another crime — election finance crimes. The second crime — the election finance crimes — does not have to be proven.

It is worth noting that falsifying business records in the first degree is a New York statute whilst election finance crimes are Federal crimes.

In the history of New York State, this is the first time a county District Attorney has ever prosecuted a Federal election crime in a New York Court.

County attorneys prosecute state crimes whilst US Attorneys prosecute Federal crimes. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York passed on this case.

When Trump attempted to remove the case to a Federal Court — it is after all, a Federal crime, the election thing — the trial judge demurred.

When Trump asked for a change of venue, the trial judge also demurred.

Statute of limitations, Big Red Car?

Yes, dear reader, these events — the alleged falsification of business records — happened back in the 2016 — more than 7 years from the time District Attorney Bragg indicted the Don — time frame which is considerably longer than the statute of limitations.

District Attorney Bragg overcame — in his allegation anyway — that problem by alleging the statute of limitations did not toll — run — whilst Trump was out of state (living in Washington, DC as President) or during COVID. Seems thin gruel.

This is a major issue.

What exactly did this Trump character do, Big Red Car?

OK, let’s dig into the details, the back story:

 1. In 2015, Donald J Trump announced he was seeking the office of President of the United States.

 2. Like any candidate running for office, Trump took a look at his public persona and decided he needed to clean up a few unfortunate episodes in his steamy life — including:

a. Allegations of banging a porn star, Stormy Daniels, in 2006,

b. Allegations of banging a Playboy bunny, Karen McDougal (1998 Playmate of the Year) in 2006-7, and,

c. a Trump Tower doorman, Dino Sajudin, who was spreading lies about a Trump bastard, a child born out of the bonds of wedlock.

 3. Trump called in his “fixer,” a scumbag lawyer named Michael Cohen, and dispatched him to handle each matter. Cohen would end up in jail for an unrelated matter and turn on Trump like a Rottweiler.

 4. In the matter of Stormy Daniels, Cohen secured a Non-disclosure Agreement for the bargain price of $130,000. You will recall  that Stormy was represented by that legal genius Michael Avenatti — also currently in prison.

 5. In the matter of Karen McDougal, Bunny extraordinaire, Cohen had a pal who owned the National Enquirer (CEO and Chairman David Pecker of AMI, parent company of the Enquirer) buy and kill McDougal’s story.

Pecker was a big Trump pal (jock sniffer) and made no bones about printing favorable coverage of Trump and killing any unfavorable coverage. This is, also, not illegal.

 6. In the matter of the doorman, he was paid $30,000 to shut up. In fact, his utterances were not true, but in the political racket if you’re explaining, you’re losing.

 7. None of the above actions #4 – #6 are even remotely illegal nor are they crimes.

 8. Fixer Cohen engaged in tortuous gymnastics to hide or disquise the payments — calling them “legal fees” rather than “porn star payoffs” — which gave rise to concern as to how these funds were accounted for in the books of various Trump business enterprises.

This is, supposedly, the focus and locus of the charges.

 9. Herein, also, begins the issue for the prosecutors — did Trump commit a crime by paying off various detractors? Well, no.

 10. Did Trump falsify business records to cover the payments up? Hmmm, but the statute of limitations may have run.

The New York statute of limitations on misdemeanor falsification of business records is two years.

The New York statute of limitations on felony falsification of business records is five years. What makes the Bragg allegation a felony is “. . . when his intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.”

 11. As you can see, the prosecutor has a huge burden to definitively prove that this alleged falsification of records is somehow in furtherance of an intention to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission of another crime.

In this instance, the prosecutor alleges it is a Federal election finance crime.

What exactly does the prosecutor have to prove, Big Red Car?

Ahhh, dear reader, good question. Generally, the prosecutor has to prove the following:

 1. The business records were falsified to perpetuate a fraud on someone. A huge issue is who was that someone defrauded?

 2. The fraud was intended to commit, aid, or conceal the commission of another crime — in this instance an election finance crime;

 3. That there was, in fact, an election finance crime. This is a big problem given the ramifications of the well known John Edwards case.

 4. That Trump, in his personal capacity, knew he was committing a crime by falsifying the business records;

 5. The reason Trump falsified the business records was to, in fact, commit, aid, or conceal the commission of this election finance crime.

Good luck.

You are going to hear a good deal about hookers, sex, lies, liars, adultery, porn stars, conspiracies, but the actual crime is falsification of descriptions on checks, invoices, and accounting general ledgers. 

So, Big Red Car, is it all a witch hunt?

Damn good question. Let’s examine a number of critical issues, shall we?

Let’s look at the history of this investigation, the timing, the people involved, and the impact. Here we go.

This case has some hair on it, baby

This case was investigated by the US Department of Justice (they have a special section on election crime), the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the New York Attorney General’s office, the county district attorney predecessor to Alvin Bragg — Cyrus Vance, Jr when he was the Manhattan District Attorney — and the Federal Election Commission.

They all had one thing in common — they refused to pursue the case because they either did not think it was a crime or could not marshall the evidence at trial.

The most telling reaction is that of the Federal Election Commission — which after all is the primary regulator of Federal elections — that voted 2-2 not to pursue the case. It takes a majority vote to pursue a case.

The FEC is composed of two Dems and two Reps and is political as Hell. It went down along party lines because — at the end of the day this is a political circus.

How about the timing, Big Red Car?

Ahhh, dear reader, let’s study the timing.

 1. The events at the core of this case occurred in 2006 – 2007.

 2. The payments happened in the 2015 time frame.

The records were dated in the 2017 time frame.

 3. Donald Trump announced his intention to pursue the presidency in 2015 and won in 2016 whereafter he served until 2020 having lost his re-election to Joe Biden in 2019.

 4. Trump announced his intention to seek the presidency a third time in November 2022.

 5. The indictment of Trump — after the US DOJ, the US Attorney, the State of New York, the prior Manhattan DA, and the FEC had passed on the charges — was filed on 4 April 2023 by a new DA who had run on the platform of holding Trump “accountable” for some unspecified crime.

 6. After multiple attempts to schedule the trial some time after the hotly contested 2024 election for POTUS and a request for a change of venue, the trial commenced in front of a hostile judge in April of 2024 who immediately imposed a gag order on a presidential nominee.

 7. The Judge has required Trump to attend every day of the trial including missing the high school graduation of his son, Barron, on Thursday.

I’m just a Big Red Car, but the timing seems to have been delayed to create the greatest negative impact on Trump’s re-election prospects and to diminish his valuable campaign time.

You decide what it means.

Is this a “political” trial, Big Red Car?

You will have to answer that question, but before you do, let’s discuss the lead prosecutor, one Matthew Colangelo. I believe he is a political operative who has been commissioned to pursue this Trump character.

 1. Mattie is a Harvard Law School grad who worked in the Obama admin as deputy assistant to President Obama, deputy director of the National Economic Council, and chief of staff of the Labor Department.

 2. During the Biden admin he was an associate attorney general at the US Department of Justice.

 3. He subsequently was employed by the New York State Attorney General whereat he knew Alvin Bragg and successfully shut down the Donald J Trump Foundation for illegally coordinating with the Trump 2016 campaign. The DJT Foundation essentially distributed all its wealth to charities and went out of business.

 4. Bragg hired him specifically in 2022 to prosecute this case against Trump.

While our boy Mattie is clearly a hired gun with a Trump penchant, what makes this even more of a political trial is the consulation with the White House and the Biden Department of Justice.

DA Bragg ignored the prior decisions not to pursue this case and decided to pursue it in the middle of the next Presidential election.

Aww, come on, Big Red Car, where’s the impact?

Haha, you’re so funny. The impacts are as follows:

 1. Prosecutor Colangelo and his henchpersons get to muddy this Donald Trump character up in the media and in front or the jury pontificating about how this is a “criminal conspiracy” to influence the 2016 election.

Of course, the word “conspiracy” does not appear in the charges and 2016 is eight bloody years ago.

They will build mountains of negative evidence as to Trump’s character, but, of course, he is not charged with “bad character,” is he?

 2. These words “legal fees” were totally unknown to the voting public back in 2016, so the idea that Trump intended to influence the election by misrepresenting checks, invoices, and general ledger entries is silly.

It is not illegal for candidates to organize their affairs to present themselves in the most pleasing light to the electorate. It is not even a criminal offense to lie and say you graduated at the top of your Syracuse University Law School class.

 3. This trial costs money for defense, steals time from the campaign trail, and saps the candidate’s energy.

 4. The trial itself exerts undue influence on Trump’s ability to fairly run for office and thereby benefits his opponent — the elderly chap with the piss poor memory.

In the end, there is a victim here: the American voter who is denied a fair contest and the ability to choose between two old white guys to be President.

Bottom line it, Big Red Car, we’re going fishing this afternoon

OK, dear fisherperson, here it is:

 1. This trial is total nonsense. The US Department of Justice, the US Attorney for the Southern District, the Federal Election Commission, New York State, and the prior District Attorney all took a pass on this.

This is a state district court pursuing a small potatoes offense tied to a Federal charge never pursued in the history of New York.

 2. Alvin Bragg ran on the promise to hold Trump “accountable” whilst never really articulating the offense for which he would demand accountability.

 3. This happened 8 years ago, but they waited until 6 months before the election to bring this case and they have refused to delay the trial or to move it to a venue in which Trump might get a fair shake.

 4. This is all about dirtying Trump up in the public’s eyes, sapping his financial resources, stealing his time from the campaign trail, and advantaging Trump’s political opponent.

This is nonsense and it is a classic example of lawfare. Malicious prosecution + election interference = lawfare.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.