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Trump Must be Loving the Resurrection of the Stormy Daniels Case

Trump Must be Loving the Resurrection of the Stormy Daniels Case

Make no mistake about it.  President Trump has a world of serious legal problems.  Some more serious than others.  The outcome for Trump depends on the outcomes of the individual cases as well as how they roll out.  They could build on each other in a crescendo of damaging – career ending – verdicts.  On the other hand, they could crash into each other in a way that could actually benefit Trump.

There is an African expression that if you pick up the tiger, you better be able to carry it to the cage.  Getting Trump indicted may be a lot easier than getting him convicted.  And if he is found not guilty, he becomes a more formidable political figure.  It gives credibility to his claim of being a victim of political prosecution.

We already saw how the years of accusations alleging collusion between Trump and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign came to a crashing end when Special Counsel Robert Mueller – after a two-year $35 million investigation – determined that no American colluded with the Russians … period.

Most of the television legal experts – on both sides — believe the Stormy Daniels Case is among the weakest of the cases against Trump.  Many believe it should not have been pursued.  They also note that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office as an abysmal 50 percent rate of convictions.

The problem with the Daniels Case is that it is going to be very difficult to secure a conviction if the case goes to trial.  If there is a conviction, the odds are that it would be overturned in an appeal.

The Case is unprecedented for TWO reasons – and that is extremely important.  The most obvious reason – and most publicized – is because Trump would be the first ex-President of the United States to be indicted, tried, and possibly convicted of a felony.  Theoretically, he could get jail time – but that is very unlikely despite the fervent wish of those on the left. 

The second reason that the Case is unprecedented is that New York Prosecutor Alvin Bragg is plowing novel legal ground based on unique legal theories.

Trump is being charged with altering corporate records to conceal a payment of $130,000 to Daniels to buy her silence about an affair that she alleges, and he denies, ever happened.  From his perspective, he was paying off a nuisance suit.  Yes, it is a lot of money, but he is a very rich guy.  At least, that is his story.

It gets complicated. He made the payment through his attorney – which in and of itself is not unprecedented.  Any attorney account can be used to settle cases.  I know.  I purchased the family home in a divorce through an attorney account.

However, Bragg argues that the payoff was made to prevent the alleged affair from becoming public during Trump’s presidential campaign – and argues that it was, therefore an illegal corporate campaign contribution.  (Is Bragg really alleging that public knowledge of an affair would hurt Trump’s reputation?  Come on, man.  Who did not already know that Trump was a shameless womanizer?)

A civil infraction – like hiding the payment to Daniels in the corporate books – can be elevated to a criminal felony – the kind that can result in jail time – if the civil infraction was part of a larger felony – like falsifying campaign records.  

But what if Trump was never indicted or convicted of falsifying campaign records?  That issue was investigated by the Department of Justice years ago, and they determined that there was no cause to press charges.  In other words, the felony to which Bragg wants to connect to the civil infraction was never adjudicated.   

To examine another facet of this truly incredible case.  Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, took a plea deal admitting to being a party to an illegal campaign contribution.  The indictment of Cohen mentioned an “unindicted Co-Conspirator,” which is believed to be Trump.  Why was Cohen indicted, convicted, and jailed, and the Co-Conspirator was not?  That is where things get even more dicey.

Cohen did not go to jail exclusively – or even primarily — for the campaign finance violation.  He went to jail for tax fraud and lying to investigators unrelated to his involvement with Trump.  Prosecutors, however, would not give him a plea bargain (shortened sentence) unless he confessed to the campaign finance charge.  

To get the plea deal, Cohen essentially confessed to a felony crime that he did not commit and would not likely have been charged with on its own.  That campaign finance charge was never adjudicated independently – and most observers believe that the worst that would happen if Cohen was found guilty of breaking a campaign finance law would be a civil fine.  When Cohen – and reporters – claim that he went to jail for the campaign finance issue, that is not exactly the truth.  The longer sentence to be reduced was based on his personal tax case.

It is the most anti-Trump television lawyers who suggest that the case is weak – and that a conviction may not hold up on appeal.  MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and his guests were very vocal in their displeasure that the Stormy Daniels Case would be the first out of the gate – or was even being pursued.

They worry that by leading off with this case – instead of the Georgia vote fraud Case … or the White House Documents Case … or the January 6th Case being investigated by Special Prosecutor Jack Smith – it will actually interfere with those more serious cases and make prosecution and conviction more difficult down the road.

More than any other case, the Stormy Daniels affair could give Trump’s claim of being a victim of political prosecution significant credibility.  Given the time that has gone by and the hoops that Bragg is going through to get an indictment, the case does have the stench of politics over justice.

Soooo … what is likely to happen?  Damned if I know.  My suspicion is that this case will crash at some point. It is possible that the New York Grand Jury will not indict Trump – although most believe that is an extremely remote possibility.  Bragg may not be able to link the Case to a real felony – in which case all Bragg has is a civil misdemeanor case with a fine as the only potential outcome.  No criminal charges for Trump and no jail time.

I still believe that the case with the best chance of convicting Trump is the White House Documents Case – and unless that results in a charge and conviction of obstruction of justice, Trump will dodge a felony conviction and potential jail time in that one.

Although not given sufficient reporting in the media, the Georgia Vote Fraud Case is fraught with so many legal peculiarities associated with the Special Grand Jury that it may have to be tossed by the courts and started all over again. Trump attorneys are already pointing to violations of the grand jury process. 

As far as the January 6th Case, I agree with a lot of the anti-Trump legal pundits who say that it is a big deal, but not easy to prove insurrection.  And as far as that civil suit against Trump by writer E. Jean Carroll, who claims to have been raped by Trump in a department store 25 years ago, I think a conviction is unlikely, but if a court agrees with Carroll, it is a civil suit – fines and no felony conviction or jail time.

As amazing as it may seem, Trump could survive the gauntlet of court cases that are currently facing him.  His chances of jail time are still extremely low.  The real question is how much will these suits and prosecutions hurt Trump’s political ambitions – or help them?  On that question, the jury is still out.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

8 Comments

  1. OWEN BART

    4 BS witchunts verdict NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS. Trump stronger than before any of the legal BS. Sue Alvin Bragg, Meg Reiss, and Lettia James. Impeach Joe Biden and Merrick Garland and remove Chris Wray.

  2. frank stetson

    If Trump is stronger, then why is he sitting on his fat ass in Florida?

    Yes he’s a slippery devil and it’s harder to bring down a President than a peasant.

    The NY case, on the basics, is a slam dunk; but that does not count for much. On the “new law” portion, it’s new law, or at least old laws tossed together in a new way, and that’s always a risk. It’s a risk that a number of very experienced Prosecutors thought sound enough that they quit when the case was stalled.

    For Trump, win or lose, it’s a money-maker and he needs it. Win means more than lose, but he makes money as a loser too because his base reveres this liar and cad. Even upright, uptight Republicans like Larry overlook the lies and figure they can believe their eyes and what he says. Larry has supported so many lies in furtherance of this strange sort of support. Trump so needs the money train to start rolling that he pre-empted the indictment hoping for a ground swell of support. Then Team Trump began to work the phones to get national Republicans on the record for their Trump loyalty statement. Even DeSantis was forced to chime in, albeit in a snarky back-handed way. But you know Trump: any publicity is good publicity. Let me have page one and block out the news sun.

    He can call for protests, try to be “wild” one more time and as stupid as Trumplicants can be, pretty sure they notice 1,000 arrests, 10 new ones every day still, lots of jail time, and the result of doing what this man asks you to do. They can’t get away with it like they did at the State Capitols.

    The document stuff is a slap on the wrist unless they can roll with national security and the risk therein. However, the judge has pretty much signaled that Trump has really pissed him off, now Trump’s lawyers are forced to break privilege and tell the court what Trump did under penalty of losing their careers for lying. Somehow I am pretty sure they know Trump won’t cover them on that. He’s too cheap. More important, the judge seems hell bent to move this thing forward, fast, and not in Trump’s favor. If it’s not a slap on the wrist, either national security issues or Trump has really pissed this judge off.

    Georgia is the key, it too looks like a slam dunk, he’s on tape compelling Georgians to cheat. But he’s been compelling on tape before, he’s a slippery devil that one. If we treated the Godfather like Trump, we would all be eating pasta seven days a week…….

    The 1/6 may get closer to Trump, but unless he made an egregious error, will not touch Trump directly. That was the job of Congress and they would rather have Trump.

  3. Tom

    Larry, I pretty much agree with all that you said except the part where you discuss Trump getting jail time as a “fervent wish of the left”. Again, this may have triggered Frank’s LTSD, so lets add the credibility of balance. Many in the center, and some on the right, and quite a few Independents/unaffiliateds also would like to see Trump in jail as well. Anybody with a moral conscience wrapped in sense of fair play and justice, ought to want to see Trump in jail. But really, we whom are stuck between the right wing Trump worshipers and the left wing Trump satanists, yes we Independents, would rather see Trump go away and just not run. We would like to have a good, high quality, statesman like candidate on both sides. Unfortunately I think we will end up with the demented crime family boss versus the wicked obnoxious lying cat petter. The real issue here is that with 330 million people, we can’t do better than these two!!?

    I personally would joyfully trade the sum total of any prison sentences he might get, and I would hold him harmless, if he just goes away and does not run, and clears the field for a quality candidate. But I know this is just a dream, and the dream weaver will not be winning this one. If he does run, this Independent will vote Dem for the Exec branch, then GOP the rest of the way down to limit the Exec branch. Yes, back to gridlock being the best way of surviving Trump and Dementia for this politically beleaguered nation! Ukraine will be the big loser if Trump wins which is why it is important for Ukraine to win in the next year. Back to grid lock where only the really important, common core issues to both parties make it through.

    And in closing, you are correct Larry, we all knew Trump was a womanizer. And for those that did not, or were unsure, the cat petting comment caught live on tape should have removed all doubt. And remember, Trump did say he could murder someone in the middle of NYC and get a way with it.

  4. Darren

    It does not matter what side of the Ile you are sitting on in your views.
    Was your personal life better and that of the country when Obama was president?
    Bush? Biden? or Trump?
    Right now we have Clowns running the Circus.
    Pass the peanuts.

    • Tom

      Actually my life has been consistently pretty good through all of your listed choices.

  5. frank stetson

    Obama.

    On a personal level, under Trump my taxes increased considerably. Of course I did not like that.

    Plus, on the social issue aspects, IMO, Trump blew dog dicks…….in hell.

    Trump added the YUGEST deficits in US history. Probably the largest in human history. Given that, probably the most government waste in history too given the tendency of government to waste. He OWNS over 25% of the total US debt. One President, one term, 25% of the total of over 45 Presidents, many with two terms. No wonder you think it was better; you were enjoying your free feeding at the government trough as Trump printed money pushing our problems down the road for the next guy to handle. Just like he ran his businesses. Borrow, bankruptcy, bailout —– except we can’t get a bailout for all the free money he tossed around.

    • Tom

      I was not aware that dogs go to hell. Is that biblical? LOL I agree with your statements about Trump and debt. My taxes were more too, as was my stress over his awful bellicose personality.

  6. frank stetson

    What do you think “all good dogs go to heaven” really means? besides, what would the devil have you suck otherwise? (duck, incoming fire :>)

    Yeah, my work at home business was undeducted, but in a lazar-like targeting of liberalism, the cap on property tax screwed the northeast where property taxes are outlandish — NJ is the highest. i could prepay on the first year so that buffered me for a year, but now take it full on the chin. it’s like having your taxes taxed, no fair. And less so since we could deduct in the past.

    i am compensating for this like mad but only so much I can do. just have to contend myself with driving down to turnip’s house near bedminister and peeing on his shrubs. or signing the petition to tax his golf course as a personal residence. now that would be a sweet revenge.

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