Breaking news from the New York Times today:
A Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Donald J. Trump on Thursday for his role in paying hush money to a porn star, according to four people with knowledge of the matter, a historic development that will shake up the 2024 presidential race and forever mark him as the nation’s first former president to face criminal charges.
The felony indictment, filed under seal by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, will likely be announced in the coming days. By then, prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, will have asked Mr. Trump to surrender and to face arraignment on charges that remain unknown for now.
A felony indictment. We’ll have more information and more analysis after the indictment is unsealed. But as we stated yesterday regarding the reported “delays” and the potential charges:
“In New York, the falsification of business records is a misdemeanor that is subject to a two-year statute of limitations. Bragg, however, is supposedly pursuing felony charges against Trump for falsifying business records to conceal federal campaign finance violations. The felony has a five-year statute of limitations, one which Bragg can manipulate to perhaps apply to Trump.”
The indictment is an absolute scandal, the banana republic on parade, the prosecutor using the weapons of his office to attack his political opponent.
Bragg and his predecessor’s slow-walking of the investigation, with its inception by Manhattan DA goes back to 2019, evidences both the dubious nature of the case against Trump and the political motivations for prosecuting Trump. Theoretically, this should be a simple case. Yet the investigation went on for nearly five years, despite what they’ve possessed: overzealous prosecutors who wanted to charge Trump with racketeering, the cooperating witnesses, the likely millions of pages of materials from the Trump Organization.
Now suddenly, the insanely pro-criminal Manhattan DA, who demanded his prosecutors reduce charges for violent criminals, is prioritizing law and order. It’s hard to believe there are legitimate reasons – for prosecutors, that means seeking justice – for that transformation. Why bring the case now? It’s the start of the 2024 presidential campaign season.
You can’t help but think of the political calculations that went on in Bragg’s head. Not only does he benefit personally, now elevated to a liberal folk hero after being the prosecutor to finally get Trump (a campaign promise he keeps), but this throws a grenade into the Republican race. Will the GOP base rally to Trump? How will the other candidates respond?
And what will this do for the undecideds and the independents and the swing voters – those who are essential to victory in 2024?
Some of those questions will be answered in the short term. Some of them won’t be answered until election day, assuming Trump gets the GOP nod.
That’s because the case won’t go away. It’s illegitimate and political, but it’s here to stay for the time being. Don’t be surprised if the trial date is set for the first half of 2024. And don’t understate the danger to Trump, who will face a jury of Biden voters. Biden won Manhattan 86.7% to 12.3% according to the New York Times. The jury of Trump’s peers will be friendly to the prosecution. That’s all the Manhattan DA might need to secure a conviction. Trump could very well win on appeal but the damage – which carries national repercussions – might already have been done.
And that’s the whole point of this dirty scheme.
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