RARE: CNN Airs Criticism Of The Basis For The Bragg Case Against Trump

The Regime Media has promoted, covered, and obsessed over the Bragg prosecution of Donald Trump in New York City- the so-called “hush money” trial. And they have done so, continuously. But tonight, CNN takes the extraordinary step of airing the case against the indictment.

Watch as Boston University law professor Jed Handelsman Shugerman lays out the case, as aired on CNN NewsNight With Abby Phillip on Wednesday, August 24th, 2024 (click “expand”):

ABBY PHILLIP: Professor, you say- see, three red flags with this case. What are they?

JED HANDELSMAN SHUGERMAN: Well the three red flags are: first, that there has- there’s no reported case. I’ve checked the records of state cases. There’s no state case that shows a state prosecutor using the Federal Election Campaign Act, which is the- really the crime that the prosecutors are alleging here. A federal election violation, a federal campaign filing violation as the basis, either directly or indirectly, for any crime. So that is a first example of what’s unprecedented here, and there- this is not just a coincidence. There are good reasons why a federal prosecutor has complete control to the exclusion of the states for enforcing something as complicated as the Federal Election Campaign Act. That’s the first one. 

The second problem is that there is no example of this statute that relies on an intent to defraud being such a broad general public. The idea that one would be defrauding the general public or voters. There’s no precedent for using it for election interference.

 And the final problem is the use of this statute. But basically what the business filing violation is, a misdemeanor with intent to defraud, it becomes a felony only if the prosecutors can show an intent to commit or conceal another crime. The Trump lawyers pointed out, made an argument that- in New York, there is a problem with trying to use the filing. The mis filing to upgrade it to a felony, relying on another jurisdiction. And the Manhattan DA could only point to two examples, neither of which is a judicial interpretation. So it’s an untested theory. Those two cases, one was a guilty plea and one was jury instruction. Neither one counts as a judge hearing an argument and ruling on it. So those are examples of how this case, three examples of how it’s unte- based on untested legal theories and on unprecedented applications.

Shugerman is the author of an op-ed recently published in The New York Times, subtly titled: I Thought the Bragg Case Against Trump Was a Legal Embarrassment. Now I Think It’s a Historic Mistake. In criticizing the case as a selective prosecution, Shugerman writes:

Eight years after the alleged crime itself, it is reasonable to ask if this is more about Manhattan politics than New York law. This case should serve as a cautionary tale about broader prosecutorial abuses in America — and promote bipartisan reforms of our partisan prosecutorial system.

Nevertheless, prosecutors should have some latitude to develop their case during trial, and maybe they will be more careful and precise about the underlying crime, fraud and the jurisdictional questions. Mr. Trump has received sufficient notice of the charges, and he can raise his arguments on appeal. One important principle of “our Federalism,” in the Supreme Court’s terms, is abstention, that federal courts should generally allow state trials to proceed first and wait to hear challenges later.

This case is still an embarrassment of prosecutorial ethics and apparent selective prosecution. Nevertheless, each side should have its day in court. If convicted, Mr. Trump can fight many other days — and perhaps win — in appellate courts. But if Monday’s opening is a preview of exaggerated allegations, imprecise legal theories and persistently unaddressed problems, the prosecutors might not win a conviction at all.

It should be noted that Shugerman is no Trump fan. During the segment he claimed to have never voted for a Republican, and criticized Trump’s description of the Bragg prosecution as “election interference”- citing the Biden Department of Justice’s refusal to bring the case forth. 

Abby Phillip questioned Shugerman’s theories, then had her legal panel do likewise. Shugerman held his own and then some.

The panel was an extremely rare break from the hysterical “walls are closing in” coverage that the media have given this matter to date. Will there be more of it? Given the ease with which Shugerman made his case, I’m not so sure.

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