Patterico's Pontifications

2/21/2024

Beware Conventional Wisdom, Bragg Indictment Edition

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:16 am



As a longtime critic of Big Media, I am always on the alert for “tells” that suggest Big Media might be getting something wrong. One “tell” that crops up again and again is herd mentality. When literally everywhere you turn, from newspapers to cable news networks to online publications, everyone mindlessly repeats the same Conventional Wisdom . . . be careful. It doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Often they’re right. But it’s a sign that you need to carefully analyze the claim that is being mindlessly repeated. Especially when there is no real analysis of the contrary viewpoint — just an impatient dismissal of it without any attempt to analyze the facts.

Take the lab leak theory, for example. We still don’t know what caused the COVID virus to emerge, but for a while there, the Conventional Wisdom was that it was ridiculous to think it came from a lab. Big Media types never gave you a real analysis of the theory. They just impatiently dismissed it.

I think the same thing is happening with the Bragg indictment. This is not going to be a long post about the Bragg indictment. I have already written my detailed thoughts about why I, seemingly almost alone amongst legal commentators, think that the case might be solid, depending on the quality of the evidence.

My point here is, with the case seemingly first on the criminal docket for Donald Trump, you are increasingly hearing the Conventional Wisdom that the case is political garbage. Literally everywhere you turn, you will hear people shrug it off as an unimportant case. And everyone they know thinks the same thing. And nobody questions it.

It is less important than the other three, I agree. But I think it’s important.

Rather than reprise my previous screeds, which you can revisit in the links above if you like, I will simply cite a line from the judge’s recent opinion denying Donald Trump’s motions to dismiss the case. The line comes within a detailed discussion of a multi-factor test analyzing the issue of pre-indictment delay, so it could be easy to overlook. But the judge who wrote the opinion has a greater familiarity with the nature of this case than most people repeating the Conventional Wisdom about the case. And here is what the judge says:

[W]hile it is true that the charges involve the lowest level felony and no one suffered physical harm, it can hardly be said that the allegations are not severe. The People claim that the Defendant paid an individual $130,000 to conceal a sexual encounter in an effort to influence the 2016 Presidential election and then falsified 34 business records to cover up the payoff. In this Court’s view, those are serious allegations.

That’s true in my view as well.

I still don’t know what evidence Bragg has. His prosecutors might come up short. That is a real possibility.

But it is also a real possibility that about a month from now, the Conventional Wisdom will start to turn. And that people will realize: hey, this actually is a serious case after all.

In case that happens . . . you heard it here first.

81 Responses to “Beware Conventional Wisdom, Bragg Indictment Edition”

  1. If it doesn’t happen, forget you read this.

    Patterico (d623e2)

  2. I’m with you. There’s more to it than just a simple payoff. It has less of the “threat to democracy” about it but the evidence might not be as weak as the conventional understanding of it suggests. I say wait for the evidence. Maybe it will be a weak sister…and a political distraction…but maybe not.

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  3. I am bothered that the last time something like this was charged against a political figure (John Edwards), that political figure walked. I know the charges and laws are different, but jurors are pretty much the same type of folks, and our electorate has gotten worse.

    Still, New York has been able to bring some measure of justice to Trump — which is more than the Feds and my State of Georgia have accomplished yet.

    Appalled (a47f53)

  4. If this is going to be the new standard… why limit it to Presidential candidates?

    Let this herald the new era whereby politicians paying for the silence of former paramours is illegal.

    Let this be the new rules.

    whembly (5f7596)

  5. If this is going to be the new standard… why limit it to Presidential candidates?

    Let this herald the new era whereby politicians paying for the silence of former paramours is illegal.

    Let this be the new rules.

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/21/2024 @ 9:33 am

    I would agree if the politicians also falsify business records to cover up the payments. They certainly deserve any bad publicity they bring on themselves.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  6. The People claim that the Defendant paid an individual $130,000 to conceal a sexual encounter in an effort to influence the 2016 Presidential election

    This is what Michael Cohen claims, and Trump denies.

    And the people who dismiss the indictment do not believe Michael Cohen or do not understand what Michael Cohens testimony adds to the case.

    1. Trump denies approving the payment to Stormy Daniels in advance. (The Karen McDougal “catch and kill” contract they all agree was not approved by Donald Trump in advance) Michael Cohen taped many of his conversations with Trump but he did not tape the alleged conversation in which Trump both told him to lay out the money (!) and agreed that the purpose of paying her off was the election. (Now the reason Stormy Daniels thought it was worth a lot of money was the election.)

    2. Trump denies that the effect on the 2016 president election was the reason he wanted to keep the assignations with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal secret.

    3. The argument that Michael Cohen used in trying to get him to reimburse the National Enquirer’s parent company for the payment to Karen McDougal was that David Pecker might get hit by a truck and the National Enquirer change its policy.

    Now when would that hypothetical happen? Before the election, which was in a few days, or after the election? This proves that Donald Trump’s motivation was something other than the election. Donald Trump simply wanted to write a check. Michael Cohen had to tell him not to do it but he didn’t tell him why. He told him there was a whole convoluted scheme for reimbursing the National Enquirer that Allen Howard Weisselberg had come up with (that Michael Cohen did not elaborate on in the section of tape that he made public) and Trump could not understand why he couldn’t simply write a check.

    The reason would be that the National Enquirer did not want to expose itself to liability for making an illegal undisclosed corporate campaign contribution. Ultimately the National Enquirer, on advice of its lawyers, decided that they didn’t want a check and they defend themselves, if this came up by saying that the payment to Karen McDougal was a valid business decision, and after Michael Cohen revealed the whole thing they were not charged in exchange for their testimony. AMI also sold the publication.

    4. Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal had the same lawyer. Trump was willing the pay Stormy Daniels money but did not agree on the amount. Michael Cohen bargained her down to $130,000 but Trump would not agree to that.

    And then Michael Cohen, for some unknown reason, went ahead himself! He had to extend himself to do so.

    It’s totally unreasonable that he would do that and also totally unreasonable that Trump would expect him to, and there is evidence that Trump did not know about it because he had to be argued into reimbursing Michael Cohen.

    Unreasonable as it is that Michael Cohen would pay off Stormy Daniels on his own initiative, using his own money, without even getting Donald Trump’s signature on the “settlement” and non-disclosure agreement, it is more unreasonable that Trump would expect him to do so, and also that Michael Cohen would not have taped a commitment to reimburse himself, if Donald Trump he had made it.

    The upshot is:

    It was more important to Michael Cohen to keep the assignation that Donald Trump had with Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) at Lake Tahoe in 2006 secret than it was to Donald Trump!

    That would be because it could be that Michael Cohen was probably responsible for the assignations.

    Did Michael Cohen work for Donald Trump in 2006?

    Check:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Cohen_(lawyer)

    Michael Dean Cohen (born August 25, 1966) is an American former lawyer who served as an attorney for former United States president Donald Trump from 2006 to 2018.

    Michael Cohen may have been afraid that the circumstances under which Donald Trump had these relationships might come out if the full circumstances became public.

    Both the assignations were not solicited by Donald Trump. Stormey Daniels was asked by someone if she wanted to have a tryst with Donald Trump. She said yes, out of curiosity, and in hpes of getting on Celebrity Apprentice (which Trump refused to do when he asked her to do it again and she countered that she wanted to be his show)

    When Karen McDougal first had a tryst with Karen McDougal he thought she was a prostitute and someone had sent her to him as a courtesy and he wanted to pay her money but she replied that she was not that kind of a girl and as a result they had an affair that lasted for 10 months until Trump wanted to introduce her to his wife Melania and she broke up with him.

    It is possible Michael Cohen may have been paid off to try to get Donald Trump in bed with someone. (so he could if necessary, be blackmailed) This would explain Michael Cohen’s desperation to silence the two women. If so, in the end the trysts became known without who wanted them to happen becoming known as well.


    and then falsified 34 business records to cover up the payoff.

    The business records were falsified to cover up the fact of reimbursement, and the Trump Organization had to pay Michael Cohen a lot extra to cover the taxes on the money they paid him. And there was nothing false about the records. An attorney is allowed to charge any amount of money for anything. Just so long as the client understands the truth. Attorney client privilege allows for misstatements in attorney billings. The fact that no tax deductions were made (which I think is the case) indicates that the Trump Organization understood these were not true business expenses. And ordinarily no one else would see the records.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  7. The records were made the way they were to protect Michael Cohen – but it only was to cover up a crime if Michael Cohen’s purpose in aying Stormy Daniels was to help Trump get elected. More likely it was to protect himself because he probably had some role in tricking Donald Trump into having the trysts.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  8. Sammy,

    I await the moment you grant Donald Trump agency for anything shady that he does.

    Your theory has Michael Cohen procuring playboy models and porn stars up his boss in 2006, then desperately covering that up in 2016 on his own volition. That seems at odds with both McDougal’s story and Stormy’s story.

    Appalled (a47f53)

  9. Sammy is the Trump whisperer.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  10. It’s not that I’m foolish enough to think that Cohen got a fair portrayal in the media, but even on Fox News he was half doofus and half creep. Creepy enough to be a towel boy in a brothel, but not competent enough to carry it up the stairs to the room.

    nk (fcda93)

  11. Tonight on mark levine show in between screaming he said he was helping trump with a 8th amendment defense. He was ranting that supreme court ruled 9-0 that state couldn’t take a woman’s suv to pay a fine.

    asset (d80031)

  12. Or not. This is a case that a prosecutor has a significant bias on. It’s both ambitious and aggressive and would be so even if the taint of political propaganda did not cover it like the Blob.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  13. This is a partisanship litmus test to me. People who view this in the same light as more robust cases (GA and DC) and cannot seen to see the political nature of the charges, their inventiveness, or the degree to which they were trumped up to felonies, are hopeless anti-Trump partisans.

    That does not mean there are not reasons to detest, fear or want to kneecap Donald Trump. He is so deserving of bad Karma that it is hard to rise to his defense. But this case could easily fail and it will be diminished on appeal even if it does not fail.

    Trump’s defense that the state is making the payment of blackmail a crime may well convince a jury of reasonable doubt. The novel idea about the payoff being a campaign expense isn’t a slam dunk. And Cohen, a disbarred convicted liar and tax cheat is the prosecution’s entire case.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  14. A failure of any case against Trump prior to the election will give Trump the win. The game is not worth the candle.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  15. Slightly off topic (more about the fraud case), but that crazy Trump fanatic Jeb Bush has the following to say about NY and Trump in today’s WSJ (free link):

    Elon Musk and Donald Trump Cases Imperil the Rule of Law

    The U.S. is the business capital of the world in large part because of its robust constitutional system and impartial judiciary. But two unprecedented legal decisions, against Donald Trump in New York and Elon Musk in Delaware, call that into question. In both cases, judges have ordered massive punitive judgments on behalf of dubious or nonexistent “victims.”

    Every American has a right to be critical of Mr. Trump’s politics—one of us ran against him in 2016—or Mr. Musk’s public persona. But equality before the law is precious, and these rulings represent a crisis not only for the soundness of our courts, but for the business environment that has allowed the U.S. to prosper. If these rulings stand, the damage could cascade through the economy, creating fear of arbitrary enforcement against entrepreneurs who seek public office or raise their voices as citizens in a way that politicians dislike.

    In New York, Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Mr. Trump to pay more than $350 million in a civil fraud judgment for inflating the value of his real-estate holdings. That case was brought by Attorney General Letitia James, who ran for office in 2018 on a promise to target the man she called “an illegitimate president.”

    The unusual New York law Ms. James used to investigate and sue Mr. Trump didn’t require her to prove that he had intended to defraud anyone, or even that anyone lost money. The Associated Press found that of the 12 cases brought under that law since its adoption in 1956 in which significant penalties were imposed, the case against Mr. Trump was the only instance without an alleged victim or financial loss. Bankers from Deutsche Bank, which lent money to Mr. Trump, testified that they were satisfied with having done so, given they were paid back on time and with interest. They also testified that they were uncertain whether the alleged exaggerations would have affected the terms of the loans to Mr. Trump—a key part of Ms. James’s case. Since there were no victims, the state will collect the damages.

    This is the ultimate in SLAPP suits.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  16. @15

    This is the ultimate in SLAPP suits.

    Kevin M (ed969f) — 2/22/2024 @ 9:15 am

    How would that work?

    whembly (5f7596)

  17. @Patterico, curious what you think of Dan’s position here:
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2024/02/its-not-fraud-on-the-voters-to-lie-to-your-own-checkbook/?utm_source=recirc-desktop&utm_medium=homepage&utm_campaign=hero&utm_content=related&utm_term=first

    Bragg’s indictment alleges, essentially, that Trump lied to his own checkbook in how he described payments to Michael Cohen that were actually reimbursements of hush money Cohen paid on Trump’s behalf to Stormy Daniels. For this, he has been indicted under New York Penal Law Section 175.10, which applies to anyone who “makes or causes a false entry in the business records of an enterprise” and does so “with intent to defraud.” As is generally true of the criminal charges against him, Trump has no substantial defense on the facts — he almost certainly did everything he stands accused of doing — but it wasn’t against the law.

    I’ll deal today just with the central problem: There’s no fraud, and no plan for a fraud. You can’t have an intent-to-defraud charge without one.

    Sure, they didn’t want to write down what they were actually doing, but the felony false-business-records law doesn’t require any particular disclosures; it just criminalizes false records that were intended for active use in a fraud.

    Bragg advances a theory that a separate payment made by American Media, Inc. (“AMI,” the publisher of National Enquirer) to Karen MacDougal (another woman with whom Trump allegedly had an affair) was part of a broader scheme on Trump’s part, and that Trump knew that AMI was making its own false entries on its own records. But so what? There’s just nothing alleged here, and nothing cited by Merchan in the evidence presented to the grand jury, to show that Trump’s or Cohen’s accounting for payments to Cohen and Daniels in any way furthered or concealed AMI’s payments to McDougal. Who would be expected to review Trump’s or Cohen’s private business records in order to test the veracity of AMI’s accounting? Bragg doesn’t have a theory for that, and neither does Merchan.

    So, here is how Merchan defines Trump’s “intent to defraud”:

    The People submit that Defendant’s “intent to defraud” was established in the Grand Jury by evidence that Defendant sought to suppress disclosure of information that could have negatively impacted his campaign for President of the United States and that he made “false entries in the relevant business records in order to prevent public disclosure of both the scheme and the underlying information. In substance, the People argue the Defendant’s intent to influence the 2016 presidential election by violating [federal and state election laws and state tax laws] satisfies the “intent to defraud” prong. . . .

    Evidence presented to the Grant Jury demonstrated that Defendant, starting in 2015, intended to pay Daniel and MacDougal a sum of money to prevent the publication of information that could have adversely affected his presidential aspirations. [Emphasis added]

    This is remarkable. According to Merchan, the intended defrauded party here is the national electorate. In other words, this is — in the view of the trial judge! — fundamentally a prosecution for political-campaign speech by a candidate for office. Need I remind the reader that it’s not illegal for a political candidate to try to influence the election in which he’s running for office. Nor, under our First Amendment, is it illegal for candidates to conceal things from the voters or even lie to the voters.

    Yet, the only fraud alleged here is concealing an affair from the voters. And the judge still has no theory for how exactly these particular private records — all of them created after the election — were supposed to deceive the American public.

    The prosecution’s theory that Trump intended to violate the federal and state campaign-finance laws and the state’s tax laws are flimsy for their own reasons, but that’s another day’s discussion. The important point here is that even having an intent to conceal regulatory violations is not a substitute for an intent to defraud — not without some theory of who was entitled or expected to review these records in order to detect those violations.

    The most essential element of the crime hasn’t been alleged here, and there’s nothing in the public record to suggest that evidence of that element was presented to the grand jury. Yet, the judge will let the case go to trial without even a legal theory of how that element can be satisfied. That’s a mockery of the rule of law.

    whembly (5f7596)

  18. This is the ultimate in SLAPP suits.

    Kevin M (ed969f) — 2/22/2024 @ 9:15 am

    Uh, no. SLAPP lawsuits occur between private parties, not the government and a defendant.

    In a typical SLAPP, the plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff’s goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs, or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. In some cases, repeated frivolous litigation against a defendant may raise the cost of directors and officers liability insurance for that party, interfering with an organization’s ability to operate. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. A SLAPP is often preceded by a legal threat. SLAPPs bring about freedom of speech concerns due to their chilling effect and are often difficult to filter out and penalize because the plaintiffs attempt to obfuscate their intent to censor, intimidate, or silence their critics.

    If anything, Trump has been the ultimate SLAPP plaintiff. For example, when he sued the New York Times and its reporters over the publishing of his tax returns, the NY anti-SLAPP statute was invoked and Trump was ordered to pay their attorney’s fees.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  19. > a disbarred convicted liar and tax cheat is the prosecution’s entire cas

    A disbarred convicted liar who was punished for lying for his client isn’t credible when testifying against the client on whose behalf he lied?

    Think this one through — this is a recipe for never convicting the organizing force behind criminal schemes.

    aphrael (31f892)

  20. SLAPP lawsuits occur between private parties, not the government and a defendant.

    Always immune to simile and metaphor, is our all-too-literal Rip.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  21. A disbarred convicted liar who was punished for lying for his client isn’t credible when testifying against the client on whose behalf he lied?

    When he got a VERY lenient sentence for the effort?

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  22. Trump has been the ultimate SLAPP plaintiff.

    True, not that it informs this discussion. A robber can be robbed.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  23. How would that work?

    The argument is that Trump is being punished for sticking his nose into the political arena. It’s not my argument, it’s Jeb’s.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  24. “More likely it was to protect himself because he probably had some role in tricking Donald Trump into having the trysts.”

    He must have double-dog-dared him.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  25. “And Cohen, a disbarred convicted liar and tax cheat is the prosecution’s entire case.”

    How do you know that he’s their entire case? Will your slander change if it’s proven to be untrue?

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  26. If there’s Conventional Wisdom that this is not a serious case, I have not heard that. Who are the throngs of media types saying this? What I do hear is that the case is politically motivated, from even the likes of partisan Democrats such as Andrew Cuomo. That’s entirely different from saying it’s not a serious case.

    Hiding classified documents in a garage and giving access to a ghost writer would be a serious case, if it were ever brought. It won’t be. It’s “political garbage” whenever a defendant gets special treatment for political reasons. It has nothing to do with whether it’s a serious case.

    lloyd (d63067)

  27. The case depends on Michael Cohen’s testimony that Trump wanted to pay the money because of the election and that he agreed in advance to reimburse him.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  28. How do you know that he’s their entire case? Will your slander change if it’s proven to be untrue?

    Which slander? That the prosecution is politically motivated, or that Cohen is a convicted liar and tax cheat? Neither are actionable and one is certainly true..

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  29. There’s no crime without Michael Cohen’s testimony because that’s necessary to create the secondary crime that the wrong bookkeeping entries would help to conceal. (it is necessary for there to be a second crime in order for the falsifying of business records to be a felony, and the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor had expired at the time of the indictment.)

    According to Dan McLaughlin in the National Review, it’s not even a crime with the second crime, because there was no fraud when the Trump Organization lied in its internal records, which in normal circumstances, nobody would have a right to inspect except an auditor, and “intent to defraud” (according to Dan McLaughlin) is a necessary element of the crime of New York Penal Law Section 175.10, (falsifying business records) and, accordingly, Justice Juan Merchan should have dismissed the case.

    Also, that would mean that Trump has bad lawyers. (Because I don’t think Trump’s lawyers made that argument) But that shouldn’t startle anyone.

    I could add that the records weren’t even false!!

    Michael Cohen was indeed paid a retainer (and he paid taxes on it) for doing nothing, and/or lawyers have a right to misstate the reason of their charge in billing records so long as the client knows the truth.

    This is so in order to preserve attorney-client privilege.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  30. SLAPP lawsuits occur between private parties, not the government and a defendant.

    Always immune to simile and metaphor, is our all-too-literal Rip.

    Kevin M (ed969f) — 2/22/2024 @ 10:27 am

    Says the poster with the overactive imagination.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  31. Appalled (a47f53) — 2/21/2024 @ 2:06 pm

    I await the moment you grant Donald Trump agency for anything shady that he does.

    People are influenced by people around them. I don’t think that Trump was looking for assignations in Lake Tahoe in 2006.

    Your theory has Michael Cohen procuring playboy models and porn stars up his boss in 2006,

    Without letting Trump know)

    then desperately covering that up in 2016 on his own volition.

    That seems to be the case.

    That seems at odds with both McDougal’s story and Stormy’s story.

    How so? Cohen was negotiating with both of them. Through Keith Davidson, their lawyer. And somebody in LAs Vegas threatened Stormy in 2011 not to go public. Sounds like gangsters, not Donald Trump.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  32. That other New York case

    ……….
    In an email to Trump’s legal team and lawyers from the New York Attorney General’s Office on Thursday, Judge Arthur Engoron of the New York State Supreme Court said he would sign a judgment proposed by the state that finalizes his ruling.

    “You have failed to explain, much less justify, any basis for a stay,” he wrote, addressing Trump attorney Clifford Robert. “I am confident that the Appellate Division will protect your appellate rights.
    ………
    On Tuesday, the attorney general’s office proposed a judgment that laid out the penalties included in Engoron’s order. Robert, Trump’s attorney, objected to the proposal, writing in a letter to Engoron that it was an “improper, unilateral submission” that “fails to provide any notice whatsoever, thereby depriving Defendants of the opportunity to be heard before judgment is entered.”

    Trump’s lawyers asked Engoron on Wednesday to postpone enforcement of the judgment for 30 days, arguing in a separate letter that the delay would “allow for an orderly post-Judgment process, particularly given the magnitude of Judgment.”

    Engoron replied over email that the proposed judgment “accurately reflects the spirit and letter of the February 16 Decision and Order,” and said he “intend[s] to sign the proposed judgment this morning and to send it to the Clerk for further processing.”
    ……….
    In order to appeal the judge’s decision, Trump would need to post a bond covering the $354 million in penalties, according to John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor and an expert on corporate governance and white collar crime.
    ………

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  33. SLAPP lawsuits occur between private parties, not the government and a defendant.

    Always immune to simile and metaphor, is our all-too-literal Rip.

    Kevin M (ed969f) — 2/22/2024 @ 10:27 am

    Your comment was neither.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  34. In order to appeal the judge’s decision,

    the judgment must be final.

    nk (575f0a)

  35. Again, I ax, what courtesy has Trump shown to the process that entitles him to the exercise of (likely non-existent) discretion in his favor and to the prejudice of the State?

    I know, I know. Why does everybody hate Donnie?

    nk (575f0a)

  36. @35

    Again, I ax, what courtesy has Trump shown to the process that entitles him to the exercise of (likely non-existent) discretion in his favor and to the prejudice of the State?

    I know, I know. Why does everybody hate Donnie?

    nk (575f0a) — 2/22/2024 @ 1:28 pm

    You can hate on Donnie.

    But, you can also hate the lawfare leveraged upon Donnie. Dan coined it apt:

    Trumplaw: a method for reading the law to reach novel and unprecedented applications, at odds with prior case law, and read the words of the law in ways that abuse common sense and are inconsistent with the basic traditions of Anglo-American jurisprudence. That’s how Trumplaw has worked in one area after another.

    You can despise Trump to your heart’s content… but, I also hope folks can also share my disgust when prosecutors employs “Trumplaw”.

    whembly (5f7596)

  37. @36 Trump’s defenders are using the 8th amendment defense to stop paying the judgement.

    asset (e817da)

  38. @37

    @36 Trump’s defenders are using the 8th amendment defense to stop paying the judgement.

    asset (e817da) — 2/22/2024 @ 2:00 pm

    I think he can only do that at the US SCOTUS.

    Not sure what, if any, NY Appellate courts can do here.

    whembly (5f7596)

  39. Kevin M (ed969f) — 2/22/2024 @ 10:30 am

    This is a wonderful comment, Kevin M. The expanse of thought delivered with such brevity is edifying.

    felipe (5045ed)

  40. I also hope folks can also share my disgust when prosecutors employs “Trumplaw”.

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/22/2024 @ 1:43 pm

    Trumplaw?

    :::shrug:::

    In my admittedly non-lawyer view, “novel and unprecedented applications” of law often are a consequence of novel and unprecedented legal situations. Trump is a master at generating those. I don’t know why you seem to have more disgust in your soul for the prosecutors who are trying to deal with these crimes than you do for the man who did the criming.

    Sorry. Alleged criming.

    Demosthenes (9b7424)

  41. @40

    I also hope folks can also share my disgust when prosecutors employs “Trumplaw”.

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/22/2024 @ 1:43 pm

    Trumplaw?

    :::shrug:::

    In my admittedly non-lawyer view, “novel and unprecedented applications” of law often are a consequence of novel and unprecedented legal situations. Trump is a master at generating those. I don’t know why you seem to have more disgust in your soul for the prosecutors who are trying to deal with these crimes than you do for the man who did the criming.

    Sorry. Alleged criming.

    Demosthenes (9b7424) — 2/22/2024 @ 3:28 pm

    Cool, cool…

    Be prepared when the other shoe drops when Republican-connected prosecutions goes after their political opponents for political animus.

    Because Trumplaw doesn’t end with Trump.

    whembly (5f7596)

  42. Be prepared when the other shoe drops when Republican-connected prosecutions goes after their political opponents for political animus.

    Because Trumplaw doesn’t end with Trump.

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/22/2024 @ 3:37 pm

    If the “political opponents” of these prosecutors have, in fact, broken the law — especially to the same degree and with the same lack of conscience as Trump has (allegedly) done — then I hope that justice is served.

    If, on the other hand, all your guys have got is documentation of a few family loans and a fake 1023 cooked up by a KGB asset…or better yet, True-the-Vote style allegations that they are literally unable to substantiate with anything resembling evidence that meets even the weakest legal standards…then go ahead and drop that shoe on your own feet. I love slapstick.

    Demosthenes (9b7424)

  43. If there’s Conventional Wisdom that this is not a serious case, I have not heard that.

    The New York Times has an op-ed today arguing that it is VERY SERIOUS MATTER. That seems to assume that the conventional wisdom is otherwise

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/20/opinion/trump-alvin-bragg-manhattan.html

    Mr. Bragg will face tough challenges ahead, fueled by lingering skepticism that critics have harbored about the strength of the evidence and whether Mr. Trump has been unfairly targeted.

    But we think he can overcome those hurdles and, by seeking to secure a conviction, reinforce the principle that in Manhattan — as across the country — playing by the rules is critical to the integrity of both our businesses and our democracy.

    They assume the truth of all of it.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  44. I don’t think Michael Cohen did more in 2006 than provide information as to where Donald Trump would be.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  45. A Demosthenes sighting!

    Good to see you, man.

    norcal (1d2eca)

  46. Says the poster with the overactive imagination.

    Says the poster with none at all.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  47. Your comment was neither.

    It was actually something of both.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  48. But we think he can overcome those hurdles and, by seeking to secure a conviction, reinforce the principle that in Manhattan — as across the country — playing by the rules is critical to the integrity of both our businesses and our democracy.

    #wishcasting

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  49. the principle that in Manhattan — as across the country — playing by the rules is critical to the integrity of both our businesses and our democracy.

    #irony

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  50. Says the poster with the overactive imagination.

    Says the poster with none at all.

    Kevin M (ed969f) — 2/22/2024 @ 8:37 pm

    So is the presidential campaign turning out as you imagined it would be, or as the polls over the last six months suggested it would be?

    Rip Murdock (ccbef3)

  51. Better to lack an imagination and not be surprised how things turn out than to construct imaginary scenarios and be surprised they don’t come true.

    Rip Murdock (61a54b)

  52. So is the presidential campaign turning out as you imagined it would be, or as the polls over the last six months suggested it would be?

    It is turning out to be a clusterfukk, with 70% of the population wanting different candidates. All that has happened is that both parties have failed utterly. And you gloat.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  53. Better to lack an imagination and not be surprised how things turn out than to construct imaginary scenarios and be surprised they don’t come true.

    How said I’d be surprised. I would rather work for 1000 impossible things than to accept a predictable apocalypse.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  54. *Who

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  55. It is turning out to be a clusterfukk, with 70% of the population wanting different candidates. All that has happened is that both parties have failed utterly. And you gloat.

    Kevin M (ed969f) — 2/22/2024 @ 9:41 pm

    I’m as disappointed as you, but I refuse to waste time and energy wishing for something that will never happen. Despite the fervent support expressed here for Nikki Haley, she’s never polled above 20% nationally. And she will get pounded on Saturday.

    Haley’s best role now is to annoy Trump, but in the end she will support him, as she promised during the first Republican debate.

    All of the scenarios posited by some posters here were totally unrealistic and doomed to failure. Republican voters picked Donald Trump as their candidate, and he isn’t going to drop out. And Democrats have picked Joe Biden, and he isn’t going to drop out either. . Voters are going with the candidate that brung them.

    I would rather work for 1000 impossible things than to accept a predictable apocalypse.

    Kevin M (ed969f) — 2/22/2024 @ 9:43 pm

    That’s the spirit! Too bad the “predictable apocalypse” will still happen whether you accept it or not.

    Rip Murdock (ccbef3)

  56. “Some hapless souls are led astray,
    While some, themselves, seek out the way.
    Some fall, unthinking, in the pit,
    While others seek about for it.

    ’Tis probable, if Satan should
    Strive for the universal good,
    And close his gates and bar them well,
    Some souls would still break into Hell.”
    — G. W. Agee

    nk (6c45b4)

  57. @42

    Be prepared when the other shoe drops when Republican-connected prosecutions goes after their political opponents for political animus.

    Because Trumplaw doesn’t end with Trump.

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/22/2024 @ 3:37 pm

    If the “political opponents” of these prosecutors have, in fact, broken the law — especially to the same degree and with the same lack of conscience as Trump has (allegedly) done — then I hope that justice is served.

    Judges/prosecutors are immune though. They have Quality Immunity.

    The only accountability that exists is at the polling booth.

    If, on the other hand, all your guys have got is documentation of a few family loans and a fake 1023 cooked up by a KGB asset…or better yet, True-the-Vote style allegations that they are literally unable to substantiate with anything resembling evidence that meets even the weakest legal standards…then go ahead and drop that shoe on your own feet. I love slapstick.

    Demosthenes (9b7424) — 2/22/2024 @ 3:58 pm

    I think the point keeps getting missed here.

    You can, on the one hand, politically denounce Trump and state as a fact, as I do, that Trump’s behaviors are abhorrent.

    But it’s a whole ‘nother world, to cheer Trump’s political opponent to use lawfare by any means necessary in order to “get Trump” simply because he’s hated politically.

    Because in that world, whereby if Trump’s partisan prosecutors were to succeed to convicting him, shows that such lawfare tactics works.

    Just imagine partisan Republican prosecutors/judges starts engaging the same lawfare tactics against Democrats.

    You ready for such a world?

    whembly (5f7596)

  58. Required reading if those who believe that “a fake 1023 cooked up by a KGB asset” from Weiss is legit:
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2024/02/david-weisss-very-peculiar-smirnov-indictment-in-the-biden-case/


    Weiss “proceeded” by not proceeding. Just as he did nothing on the Hunter Biden investigation, allowing the statute of limitations to run on some of the most serious criminal conduct (the conduct that occurred from 2014 through 2016 while Joe Biden was vice president), Weiss did nothing about the Smirnov allegations.

    Those lay unacted upon for three years until, finally, (a) House Republicans pressured the FBI into providing the investigative committees with Smirnov’s 1023 and (b) Weiss’s sweetheart plea bargain with Hunter Biden imploded, after which Attorney General Merrick Garland purported to appoint Weiss as a special counsel — notwithstanding that he is not qualified to serve as a special counsel under DOJ regulations. (Because special counsels are to be appointed only when the Justice Department has a conflict of interest, the regs mandate that “special counsels shall be selected from outside the United States Government.” Weiss was not just from inside the government, he was a high-ranking official of the conflicted Justice Department, and he has steered the case exactly as you’d expect a conflicted lawyer would.)

    Only in late August 2023, after the plea-bargain blowup and the theatrical special-counsel appointment, did Weiss swing into action. It appears to be the first and quite possibly the only aggressive investigative action he has undertaken in the Biden probe: an energetic effort to prove that bribery allegations against Joe Biden were false, to make a case against a confidential informant, and to help Democrats portray the House Republicans’ investigation of the president as being based on “Russian disinformation” — even though none of the most critical evidence of Biden-family influence-peddling comes from Smirnov or Russians.

    A very peculiar case, I’d say.

    whembly (5f7596)

  59. This, encapsulate my positions near to a “t”:
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2024/02/the-un-american-campaign-against-donald-trump/


    What’s happening in New York — and is being replicated at the federal level and Georgia in the 2020 election cases — is law as bloodlust. It is a rejection of the Anglo-American legal tradition as it has developed over the centuries to enshrine neutrality and fair play in favor of something that is more personalized and illiberal.

    These prosecutors are acting as if they consider the famous speech by then–attorney general and future Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson not as a warning, but a road map. He called “the most dangerous power of the prosecutor” that “he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted.” Given the variety of laws on the books, Jackson explained, “a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone.” Then, it becomes “a question of picking the man and searching the law books, or putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him.”

    That Donald Trump is the man in question doesn’t make this phenomenon any less disgraceful or un-American.

    whembly (5f7596)

  60. Just imagine partisan Republican prosecutors/judges starts engaging the same lawfare tactics against Democrats.

    You ready for such a world?

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/23/2024 @ 6:38 am

    First, it’s “qualified” immunity, not “quality” immunity. Second, if Republican prosecutors have enough evidence to convince a grand jury and a trial jury, have At it.

    Rip Murdock (61a54b)

  61. Just imagine partisan Republican prosecutors/judges starts engaging the same lawfare tactics against Democrats.

    You ready for such a world?

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/23/2024 @ 6:38 am

    It’s called the next Trump Administration.

    Rip Murdock (61a54b)

  62. @61

    Just imagine partisan Republican prosecutors/judges starts engaging the same lawfare tactics against Democrats.

    You ready for such a world?

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/23/2024 @ 6:38 am

    It’s called the next Trump Administration.

    Rip Murdock (61a54b) — 2/23/2024 @ 8:03 am

    And I’m going to have so much schadenfreude when I say “I told you so”.

    I’m here wailing into the ethers to point out the new rules, because we must apply the same rules to all sides.

    whembly (5f7596)

  63. @59, Why are Republicans so enamored by a person who incites such hatred? The root of the hatred has some basis: Trump is obnoxious, he lies, he punches down, he frequently sounds like an idiot about important topics, he routinely treats women poorly, he runs grifts like Trump University, he lacks any modesty, he emotes more than he conveys wisdom, he appears ethically challenged, and most importantly his ethical challenges have created legal challenges.

    Is pre-emptively paying off a porn star affair so it does not hurt your campaign…in a coordinated fashion to hide the business expense…and then rinse and repeat for other embarrassing situations…something that merits derision? We can argue about the quality of the case and its evidence when we actually hear it. The bigger issue is why the GOP prefers this individual over a half-dozen other qualified candidates who haven’t done that. But that forces people to look inward rather than their preference of looking outward at their assigned villain. Trump is a bad man….he demonstrates none of the traits of a great leader…literally none. The story isn’t why is Trump being maligned by the justice system, it’s why is he even still in play politically. And the porn payoff might be his less egregious sin…but it’s still political sin no less. The failure to expunge Trump from the GOP following J6 and the classified document scandals…mortal sins…. is an indictment against the intelligence, morality, and judgment of the GOP primary voter.

    The justice system has safeguards. Trump will get to appeal his fraud verdict. Trump will get to challenge the evidence is in his hush-money case. The fact that “conservatives” first instinct is to malign the justice system and throw IT under the bus, demonstrates that Trumpism misses the big picture. Let the system play out. Choose better candidates.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  64. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/stormy-daniels-describes-her-alleged-affair-with-donald-trump-60-minutes-interview

    ..She was one of the most popular actresses in the adult industry when she was introduced to Mr. Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in July, 2006. She says he invited her to dinner, and she met him at his hotel suite.

    Who introduced her?

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e)

  65. @60

    First, it’s “qualified” immunity, not “quality” immunity.

    Appreciate the correction.

    Second, if Republican prosecutors have enough evidence to convince a grand jury and a trial jury, have At it.

    Rip Murdock (61a54b) — 2/23/2024 @ 7:55 am

    Way to miss the point.

    whembly (5f7596)

  66. I mean it’s possible someone told one story to her and another story to Donald Trump.

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e)

  67. @63

    @59, Why are Republicans so enamored by a person who incites such hatred? The root of the hatred has some basis: Trump is obnoxious, he lies, he punches down, he frequently sounds like an idiot about important topics, he routinely treats women poorly, he runs grifts like Trump University, he lacks any modesty, he emotes more than he conveys wisdom, he appears ethically challenged, and most importantly his ethical challenges have created legal challenges.

    Is pre-emptively paying off a porn star affair so it does not hurt your campaign…in a coordinated fashion to hide the business expense…and then rinse and repeat for other embarrassing situations…something that merits derision? We can argue about the quality of the case and its evidence when we actually hear it. The bigger issue is why the GOP prefers this individual over a half-dozen other qualified candidates who haven’t done that. But that forces people to look inward rather than their preference of looking outward at their assigned villain. Trump is a bad man….he demonstrates none of the traits of a great leader…literally none. The story isn’t why is Trump being maligned by the justice system, it’s why is he even still in play politically. And the porn payoff might be his less egregious sin…but it’s still political sin no less. The failure to expunge Trump from the GOP following J6 and the classified document scandals…mortal sins…. is an indictment against the intelligence, morality, and judgment of the GOP primary voter.

    The justice system has safeguards. Trump will get to appeal his fraud verdict. Trump will get to challenge the evidence is in his hush-money case. The fact that “conservatives” first instinct is to malign the justice system and throw IT under the bus, demonstrates that Trumpism misses the big picture. Let the system play out. Choose better candidates.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 2/23/2024 @ 8:47 am

    Again, we should be able to simultaneously decry Trumpiums and decry the lawfare tactic against Trump for blatant political reasons.

    I go back to an old saying that I wrote during the 1st Trump administration… just because Trump does something bad, doesn’t excuse others for doing bad things in reaction to Trump.

    whembly (5f7596)

  68. And I’m going to have so much schadenfreude when I say “I told you so”.

    I’m here wailing into the ethers to point out the new rules, because we must apply the same rules to all sides.

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/23/2024 @ 8:43 am

    I agree the same rules should apply to all sides. Pence should be prosecuted for holding classified information, as should Biden. The House can speed that along by impeaching him and removing his from office, though I don’t think the Senate will go along. But once he is out of office, prosecuting him is fair game.

    Rip Murdock (61a54b)

  69. What’s happening in New York — and is being replicated at the federal level and Georgia in the 2020 election cases — is law as bloodlust

    And THIS is my entire point: the weak-ass and politically motivated NY cases are being used as cover for the apolitical and robust cases in DC and GA. And when Trump is acquitted in the pay-off case, or an appeal succeeds before the election, this will be the Trumpist talking point that will give him the election.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  70. Kevin M (ed969f) — 2/23/2024 @ 9:14 am

    I doubt any appeal would be heard before the election. I also doubt that whembly would agree that the two federal cases and the Georgia RICO cases are “apolitical.”

    Rip Murdock (61a54b)

  71. #70

    I also doubt that whembly would agree that the two federal cases and the Georgia RICO cases are “apolitical.”

    And whembly would be wrong. Trump begged our Secretary of State to manufacture votes that put him ahead and come up with bs reasons to justify it. Essentially, he wanted to throw out my vote.

    If whembly thinks willful retention and careless disclosure of classified documents is the sort of thing people get to do, Reality Winner wants a word. If whembly thinks January 6 was just an oopsy daisy, bad think prosecution, all the folks going to jail for their 1-6 crimes want a word.

    Appalled (e73080)

  72. Nothing is apolitical at this point in our country. Blatant partisan hacks glom on like barnacles. Surreptitious hacks weasel their way in. Attention mongers like Ms. James and Ms. Willis see it as the golden ticket. Mr Bragg is well aware of what this could mean to his political future. Politics + ambition is a double edged sword. Not always bad, but when it turns bad…

    steveg (9f4f38)

  73. @63. Agreed, AJ.
    Why the GOP insists on sticking with this despicable human being…there’ll be history books on this subject for decades to come.

    Paul Montagu (6a638f)

  74. There are things worse than Trump, such as a legal system used as a political weapon. Trump at least has a shelf life.

    lloyd (d22f13)

  75. I also doubt that whembly would agree that the two federal cases and the Georgia RICO cases are “apolitical.”

    Not my problem.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  76. Trump at least has a shelf life.

    And is now about 6 years past his sell-by date.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  77. Appalled (e73080) — 2/23/2024 @ 10:31 am

    And whembly would be wrong. Trump begged our Secretary of State to manufacture votes that put him ahead and come up with bs reasons to justify it. Essentially, he wanted to throw out my vote.

    But was that illegal? To be illegal, he’d have to be telling him to violate the law. Which he didn’t, since he claimed the law was on his side.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  78. ALL of the criminal cases against Donald Trump would not have occurred had he not run for president, but some of the civil cases could have been criminal. And indeed the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg
    were convicted criminally for overstating value or something. (Well, Weisselberg had the Trump Org pay for things that were fringe benefits.)

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  79. @63 for the umpteenth time. Trumpsters are populists not conservatives and hate the same people trump hates and he gives an outlet for their hatred. Also they breed faster then conservatives so they will only increase in the republican party!

    asset (87aa8e)

  80. A Demosthenes sighting!

    Good to see you, man.

    norcal (1d2eca) — 2/22/2024 @ 7:07 pm

    Hey, norcal! Just checking in for my annual proof of life.

    The only accountability that exists is at the polling booth.

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/23/2024 @ 6:38 am

    Not “the only” accountability, but certainly the ultimate accountability. As it should be, in a democracy.

    I think the point keeps getting missed here.

    You can, on the one hand, politically denounce Trump and state as a fact, as I do, that Trump’s behaviors are abhorrent.

    But it’s a whole ‘nother world, to cheer Trump’s political opponent to use lawfare by any means necessary in order to “get Trump” simply because he’s hated politically

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/23/2024 @ 6:38 am

    I agree. So it’s a good thing I didn’t do that, then. I also agree that some point keeps getting missed. So let me see if I can make it clearer.

    My point was, from my first response to you, that “novel and unprecedented applications” of law are not necessarily a sign of any nefarious behavior on the part of prosecutors. When legal situations arise that have never arisen before, legal responses will not look like they have before.

    Yes, no other former president has ever been charged with unlawful retention of classified documents. That’s because no other former president stonewalled federal officials when asked to do so, and then tried to hide (some of) them from the feds when he finally “cooperated.”

    Yes, no other former president has ever been charged with RICO, or with conspiracy to defraud the government. That’s because no other former president ever tried to arrange for fake electoral votes to be substituted for real ones, as part of a scheme to subvert our entire constitutional order.

    And you know, while I am sure that Donald Trump is not the first former president to have paid hush money to cover up an affair, he might just be the first to falsify business records in the process of doing so.

    Oh, I’m sorry. Insert “allegedly” wherever necessary.

    Just imagine partisan Republican prosecutors/judges starts engaging the same lawfare tactics against Democrats.

    You ready for such a world?

    whembly (5f7596) — 2/23/2024 @ 6:38 am

    See, but here’s the thing. You haven’t proved any of this behavior IS “lawfare.” You have merely asserted it. And I reject your assertion.

    In fact, I will go further. As far as my admitted layman’s eyes can see, the most blatant partisan behavior in all of Trump’s cases combined, by a country mile, is currently being engaged in ON HIS BEHALF, by a federal judge who is clearly bound and determined to do everything she can (and maybe a few things she can’t) to tip the scales Trump’s way.

    The rest is chickens coming home to roost. Allegedly. And that’s a world I’m ready for. No matter whose chickens they are, and no matter the identity of the wrangler bringing them in.

    Demosthenes (a111f4)

  81. @80.

    +1

    lurker (cd7cd4)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1098 secs.