She’s Trump-eting Again

I am writing a counterpoint to the right-wing blather that Juile of “Strict Julie Spanked” publish about Donald Trump’s legal problems. Her most recent explosion is about the New York City case against Trump for falsifying records and criminal fraud. Like Trump himself, she chooses to attack the District Attorney instead of looking at the actual case. I’m not a lawyer, but I can read and I took the time to read the actual complaint against Trump instead of relying on the right-wing press. Here are the facts as I read them.

First, Trump isn’t being prosecuted for paying off Stormy Daniels. Paying someone not to reveal information is legal in New York.

Second. Trump is being prosecuted for filing false business records. The complaint lists 34 separate documents that cover payments Trump (the Donald Trump Revocable Trust) made to his attorney to reimburse him for the money he used to pay off the porn actress. These are misdemeanors in New York. They were supposedly for “legal fees.”

Third. This is the part we can’t find in the charging document. New York charges that these payments were part of a larger, intentional fraud. This raises the crimes from misdemeanors to class E felonies. Class E is the least serious grade of a felony in New York.

Fourth. The State will have to prove this criminal connection in order to convict Trump as a felon. There wouldn’t be any jail time associated with the misdemeanors. The Class E felony carries a sentence of up to four years for each of the 34 counts. In practice, the judge would almost certainly have all 34 served concurrently. Trump might not get any jail time at all for them if convicted.

It’s true that the Feds decided not to prosecute the potential Federal campaign law violations surrounding this matter. That doesn’t mean there was no crime. The Feds are looking at a much more serious case against Trump for his part in January 6 and election fraud surrounding his fake electors. This is much more than an E felony.

The state of Georgia is also considering a criminal case against Trump. He may be prosecuted for trying to get the Georgia secretary of state to change the vote count. The House January 6 Committee presented recordings of Trump trying to pressure the secretary of state into adding 11,000 votes for him. There is a lot of other evidence that was uncovered to support Trump’s attempt to rig the Georgia vote.

The Federal special prosecutor hasn’t revealed if he is going to pursue federal charges against Trump for crimes relating to January 6. I watched the House hearings with interest. It certainly appears to me that Trump carries a big part of the responsibility for the violence at the Capital

I’m not sure that the New York City case is the best one to prosecute first. Part of it, the false documents, is open and shut. The DA has them, and Trump’s former attorney, his former CFO, and others close to him have testified to his role in this. The part I still wonder about is how the DA ties this to criminal intent to defraud. I guess we’ll see.


  1. That you for posting actual, non-alternative facts. Tax law and campaign law are laws, and breaking them is illegal.

  2. I think that there are several problems here. First, from an ethical perspective, we are seeing the unequal application of law.

    First, the documentation in question took place in 2017. The campaign took place in and before 2016. This is why the DA has not referenced the potential federal crime in the filing documents and, if he cannot point to a federal crime, then he cannot promote misdemeanors to felonies.

    The second challenge that I see is less about legality and more about sustaining a healthy legal system – one in which all parities face equal application of the law. With that in mind, the Clinton campaign, executed out of the same state and for the same federal election, also

    The Clinton campaign, conducted in the same state for the same federal election also filed false business records – they had their lawyers pay a foreign agent to pay another (Russian) foreign agent for dirt. The Clinton campaign accepted a fine from the FEC for this (i.e. acknowledgement of federal law violation) however, the DA has made no attempt to make the misdemeanors in this case felonies.

    Imagine that Trump isn’t involved – this is not a very strong case nor is a health approach to sustaining trust in our institutions.

    1. Author

      Please see my reply to Julie. Hillary made a deal with the DA and paid a fine. Trump had his lawyer pay off Stormy Daniels in 2016 as part of his program to kill negative news. He paid off his lawyer with fake fees after he was in the White House. The fact that the fake payments were for a campaign expense (catch and kill) makes the later payments both false documents and a campaign finance violation.

      I agree that as far as I can tell, the felony charges seem pretty weak. Perhaps the grand jury heard testimony that will reveal things we don’t know.

      1. What DA did Hillary make a deal with? The only record that I can find is that she paid an FTC fine. Now, guilty of a Federal crime, her falsification of business records is eligible for felony prosecution. This would be a much stronger prosecution for the DA than the one that he is currently attempting as guilt has already been admitted and, apparently, the statute of limitations doesn’t matter. We all know that this will never happen.

        There is no federal crime in the case against Trump. Federal authorities, knowing the facts of that case, know that it is a losing case. The DA cannot even site a federal crime in his documents which is farcical and would have the ACLU rightfully howling if similar circumstances were arrayed against any non-Trump defendant.

        1. Author

          Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor in New York. It only rises to a felony if there is intent to commit fraud. You are right. Hillary pled out federal charges. New York didn’t prosecute. You clearly get your “facts” from Fox News.

          1. Lion, you are better than that. I do not watch Fox News and the facts don’t change if I did.

            I don’t want to see Hillary prosecuted but she faces more damming circumstances than Trump does. She did indeed intend to commit fraud; read the FTC materials for yourself – you don’t have to get that news from Fox.

            I want a justice system that we can all have confidence in. That means that if two parties face very similar circumstances that they should either both be charged or neither charged. It just so happens in this situation that there is a stronger case against the uncharged party due to admitted guilt. It make the DA look very partisan.

  3. I don’t believe we diverge on any of the facts. You misread my bullet by confusing and confounding it with a sub-bullet which makes a separate point.

    I’m curious why you omit facts such as the DA running on a “get Trump” platform, and don’t opine whether any other living person would be charged criminally with such a weak case.

    I’d also be interested in your views re whether Hillary should be charged criminally in NY for the same offense for falsifying the business records relating to payment for the Steele dossier which she incorrectly labelled a legal expense. She had to pay a fine for it.

    1. Author

      First of all, the NYC DA pursues hundreds of falsifying documents cases a year. The current DA ran on a platform that did have a “prosecute Trump” plank because the prior DA failed to act. Hillary WAS prosecuted and pled to the charge that carried a fine or jail, but the plea agreement included just a fine.

      If Trump pleads this out, chances are very good that he too will just have to pay a fine. The biggest problem with his case is his inability to tell the truth. He still insists that he didn’t break the law. He obviously did. Typically, a DA will happily reduce the charges if the defendant pleads guilty. Trump refuses for two reasons: 1. He can milk this case to raise money and public support for his 2024 presidential run, and 2, he is incapable of simply admitting the truth.

      1. I suggest double checking that. The Hillary campaign was fined by the FEC, to my knowledge there was no prosecution for falsifying business records. Regardless, the agreement to pay the fee is acknowledgement of guilt at the federal level which would enable the a NY DA to prosecute Hillary with a felony count… if he was interested in the application of equal justice.

        In Trump’s case, the record keeping issue should not be a felony unless there is a corresponding federal crime – the DA doesn’t mention one because there isn’t one. No Federal prosecutor has brought charges related to records falsification because they would have to prove that the reason was election related. That is difficult to do when it is certainly plausible to execute an NDA to avoid embarrassment with his family.

        Ultimately, this is a very weak case and the unequal application of the law is very disturbing.

  4. Caged Lion wrote: “Trump [tried] to pressure the [Georgia] secretary of state into adding 11,000 votes for him.”

    I must take exception to how the mass media in the United States have presented Trump’s recorded request. I believe the mass media has intentionally “dumbed down” the nature of the actual request; dumbed down in the belief that typical audience members cannot engage in basic thinking.

    I have listened to the (whole) conversation between Trump and Secretary of State Raffensperger. It is very clear that Trump wanted Raffensperger to:

    (1) Find (roughly) 11,000 votes to “disqualify;” and

    (2) That only votes for Biden should be “disqualified.”

    Yes, in a sense, this could be seen as “finding another 11,000 votes for Trump” in that it would shift the vote total by that much in Trump’s favor.

    However, that does not excuse the intentional disenfranchisement of 11,000 voters! In fact, I consider the potential harm to these individual voters to much greater than the harm from simply “finding [missing] votes for Trump [from thin air.” Such disenfranchised voters are real people suffering real harm; a “corrosion” of their trust and faith that their votes will count – that there’s any point in voting, at all! THAT WILL DESTROY OUR DEMOCRACY MUCH FASTER THAN FEW THOUSAND FALSIFIED VOTES FOR TRUMP!

    (Sorry for the last post. I’ve been very busy, and am still trying to “catch-up” with my blog reading.)

    1. Author

      No matter how you slice it, Trump broke the law by trying to influence the outcome of the election. Adding illegitimate votes has the same effect as disenfranchising the same number of voters by illegal disqualificawtion.

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