Did Judge Merchan Make a Critical Error That Can Save Trump?

News & Politics

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against Donald Trump had already hit a few snags, but now, Judge Merchan may have made a critical error that could reverse the Trump verdict upon appeal by allowing prosecutors to make certain arguments, according to GWU University law professor Jonathan Turley.

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During an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Turley suggested that New York Judge Juan Merchan made a mistake by allowing Bragg’s prosecutorial team, which is being led by former Biden administration official Michael Colangelo, to say unequivocally that Trump was involved in federal election law violations.

“I got to tell you, I think this judge may have already committed reversible error,” Turley told Fox News. “He could try to amend it, he could try to change it in his instructions, but that jury has now been told repeatedly that there are federal election crimes here, strongly suggesting that the payment to Stormy Daniels did violate federal election laws. That’s just not true.”

The Daily Caller has more.

The New York Court of Appeals ruled in a 4-3 decision Thursday that the “erroneously admitted” testimony about unrelated incidents and other actions by the judge presiding over the rape trial of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein were “egregious errors” that required a new trial.

Turley also previewed testimony from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who is expected to be a star witness for the prosecution, earlier in his appearance.

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“Michael Cohen is literally going to tell that jury, ‘Please send my client to jail for following my legal advice,’” Turley continued. “All of the stuff that they are talking about, he set up, he structured this and told his client that ‘we could do this.’ It’s a bizarre moment.”

The Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett similarly cited Weinstein’s conviction being overturned as precedent for Trump’s potential conviction being overturned.

“Nothing in the courtroom last week dealt with the actual charges. None of the witnesses actually testified about any relevant crime recognized by law,” Jarrett explained to “Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy. “Instead, it was sort of this weird kabuki theater or theater of the absurd, Steve. I mean, David Pecker, who ran the National Enquirer, was on the witness stand most of the week and told us what we already knew. The tabloid was sleazy, promoting and killing stories.”

Related: Here’s Why Alvin Bragg’s Case Against Donald Trump Is Collapsing

“But, Steve, that’s not a crime. Paying people for their silence is not a crime. Influencing an election is not a crime, either. That’s what campaigns are designed to do,” Jarrett continued. “Yet, Alvin Bragg’s legal minions in court keep using the words ‘conspiracy’ and ‘fraud.’ Well, Trump hasn’t been charged with that, so this hairbrain prosecution is exactly what Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch warned about during the immunity hearing last week.”

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“It was the introduction of similar bad acts, which is exactly what led to the reversal of Harvey Weinstein’s sex crime cases, and yet this judge is allowing that sort of evidence,” Jarrett continued. “The goofiest part of this prosecution is that Bragg claims Trump falsified private business records to influence an election.” 

“But look at the indictment: All of the alleged bookkeeping offenses happened in 2017, after the 2016 election. It’s a pretty neat trick to unlawfully influence an election after it occurred.”

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