Dershowitz Suggests a Possible Legal Lifeline for Trump

News & Politics

Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz hasn’t been shy about Donald Trump’s chances for an appeal of his conviction. he believes Trump’s legal team made a series of mistakes and that Trump should fire the attorneys. 

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“His lawyers did not do a good job. And what worries me, as an appellate lawyer, is that they didn’t do a good job preserving the record for appeal. They focused exclusively on the trial, which is what many trial lawyers erroneously do,” Dershowitz told Greta Van Susteren on Newsmax last week. “But you can’t win an appeal if the lawyers below didn’t create a record for appeal. And they didn’t do that here, particularly the missing witness, the issue of, the failure to allow the expert witness to testify.”

An appeal through the usual channels could take months or years, but Dershowitz says that Trump could expedite the process.

Mr. Dershowitz addressed the matter in an interview with Megyn Kelly on Friday, charting a possible expedited path through the New York state appeals process. The retired law professor said that President Trump’s legal team should push to get its appeal heard immediately before the New York Court of Appeals, which is the highest court in New York state and the last step before a petition can be filed at the U.S. Supreme Court. However, appeals to this court are not automatic and generally require permission from the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court—or from the New York Court of Appeals itself.

“He should make an appeal to the New York Court of Appeals asking them to bypass the Appellate Division because he’s not going to get justice in the Appellate Division,” Mr. Dershowitz said, speculating that Appellate Division judges are elected and would be more likely to bow to pressure to reject the Trump team’s appeal.

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“The Appellate Division or Manhattan judges that are elected and they don’t want to have to face their families and say you were the judge who allowed Trump to become the next President of the United States. They don’t want to be Dershowitz’ed,” he told Kelly. “They don’t want to be treated in New York, the way I have been treated in Martha’s Vineyard and Harvard and New York because I defended Donald Trump, so they should skip the Appellate Division.”

Dershowitz continued:

Go to the New York Court of Appeals, ask for an expedited appeal. In the meantime, prepare for an expedited appeal in the United States Supreme Court and say that this was a rush to try to get this case, a verdict of conviction before election, and the Supreme Court of the United States has an obligation to review this case before the election so that the American public knows whether or not Donald Trump is guilty or not guilty of these made up crimes.

However, Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, believes it is unlikely that the Supreme Court would take the case until the process plays out through the New York state courts.

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“There are certainly issues that give the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the state court conviction, given the fundamental violation of Donald Trump’s substantive due process rights under the U.S. Constitution in the way the trial judge and prosecution mishandled the case,” von Spakovsky told The Epoch Times. “But I don’t believe the Supreme Court will take the case until the state appeals process is exhausted.”

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