Three former prosecutors told Insider that A.G. Alvin Bragg’s hush money case against Trump is weak.
But if the case goes to trial, the former president may use his wife for his benefit.
“There are many men who will pay these fees if they avoid problems at home,” said one lawyer.
Melania Trump, A very private former first ladyshe could finally be at the forefront of her husband’s criminal defense in a serious case — if the case ever goes to trial.
More than a week after former President Donald Trump was indicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records, lawyers Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Case Suspicious.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you see this as a hard-fought piece of legislation before we even start talking about whether you can prove it at trial.” Joshua RitterA partner with El Dabe Ritter’s trial lawyers and a former Los Angeles County prosecutor told Insider.
At the beginning of this month Trump has been indicted on 34 criminal charges. In connection with the payment of security money Adult film star Stormy Daniels Before the 2016 election. Former Trump lawyer and campaigner Michael Cohen In 2018, he pleaded guilty to several charges related to payments.
Trump has repeatedly denied having sex with Daniels and the former president I am not guilty of all the charges against him In a New York court last week.
Despite the unprecedented nature of the case The first of its kind on a former US presidentLegal experts are skeptical about the strength of Bragg’s case, and two former prosecutors told Insider this week that the case is unlikely to ultimately go to trial.
However, this means that It’s not entirely impossible that Trump could find himself in a New York courtroom in 2024 or later. Three former prosecutors speculated about defense tactics the former president might use in such a case.
Defense of Melania
Trump has repeatedly denied that he had sex with Daniels, but the alleged affair, which is unfounded, may have been indecent behavior. 2024 Republican presidential candidate Practically perfect protection, base Neema Rahmanipresident of West Coast Trial Lawyers and a former federal prosecutor.
To make such a defense, Trump He has to admit that he was unfaithful to his third wife, whom he married in 2005. He is said to be angry about the betrayal. Or simply keep out His current position was that Daniel was robbing him for money.
“If you believe that he did this not to get elected, but to save his family from shame, that is not a crime, it is a crime,” Rahmani said. “It’s a very good logical defense. Who wants their wife and children to know about their relationship?”
Ritter said that Trump’s defense could be cleverer than that of his presidential campaign as a man who was “accused of betrayal.”
“There are a lot of guys who will pay those fees if they avoid trouble at home,” Ritter told Insider.
Would Melania cooperate?
The defense does not even need Melania Trump’s support or cooperation with such a tactic, which could be necessary. The former first lady stepped back from the spotlight. In recent years, with her A notable absence from Trump’s arrest
From a public relations perspective, Melania’s apparent support for her husband in court may help, Ritter says, but her testimony at trial is highly unlikely and unnecessary.
“As long as she is motivated by why he would make such a payment, her opinion or understanding of what happened is irrelevant,” Ritter said.
He said it was a defense strategy that would play well with jurors, especially if Trump decided to pay off Daniels in order to protect her privacy, especially if Trump painted himself as a successful businessman and threatened extortion.
“As long as he sets that tone, 12 judges look at each other and say, ‘What are we doing here?’ Ritter said.
Preventing a busy businessman
Trump can also leave his. Personal life and wife Emphasizing the ignorance that led to illegal payments without any defense; Ambrosio RodriguezA former prosecutor told an insider..
It can easily be argued that I have no idea how the money paid to former President Cohen will be distributed.
“I have a lot of companies and corporations. I didn’t know it happened,” Rodriguez said, mimicking Trump’s line of defense.
But legal experts stress that any speculation about Trump’s defense at this point is still entirely speculative. The case could face multiple appeals and possibly multiple courts of peer review before the former president.
“If you pass all those challenges, what remains at trial is that he committed a crime in the way he made these payments,” Ritter said.
And the answer to that question is still months away. Rahmani said there is zero chance of this case going to court in January 2024.
“If Trump thinks it’s going to benefit his chances as president, he’s going to push this back,” Rahmani said.
But experts say that the experiment is impossible
“I think the defense has a very good chance of winning this case at the motion level, which means they can be successful in getting the case out,” Rodriguez said.
He added that the public should prepare for a “summer trial” ahead of Trump’s December court date, where his legal team will appeal the dismissal and try to escalate the case. They hope to eventually throw the case outright to a high court judge.
The 34 criminal charges are all misdemeanors, legal experts say, and if Bragg and his team can’t prove that Trump made the payments for a larger crime — such as evading tax laws or circumventing campaign finance laws — the charges will be reduced to misdemeanors and almost certainly dismissed due to statute of limitations.
“His team is going to challenge this to the fullest extent of the law,” Ritter said. “His people are shy of judgment.”
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