Indictment, Extradition, Et Cetera

Statement from Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s office: “This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal.”

Bragg’s office has been tight-lipped about the investigation and indictment, but plenty of other people are talking, including the biggest mouth on the planet.  

Trump on Truth Social: “These Thugs and Radical Left Monsters have just INDICATED the 45th President of the United States of America …”  

What happens next? Probably not a perp walk or handcuffs. White collar defendants—even if they are not ex-presidents—normally arrange to turn themselves in and are released after processing. 

Of course, Trump could refuse. Then what happens? 

He might be able to hide out in Florida for a while. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that“Florida will not assist in an extradition request.” That seems clearly contrary to the U.S. Constitution, but DeSantis doesn’t care. 

U.S. Constitution: Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2:  A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

{While DeSantis was quick to elbow his way to the head of the parade of Republicans fulminating loudly about the indictment, he and his allies made another move without so much fanfare. They moved to repeal the Florida law that would require him to resign as governor before running for president.) 

The indictment does not charge Trump with:

  • having an affair with Stephanie Clifford/Stormy Daniels in 2006 and 2007, or
  • paying $130,000 to her in 2016 so she wouldn’t talk about the affair during his presidential campaign, or
  • arranging with the National Enquirer to buy exclusive rights to another woman’s story and then never publish it. 

All of the above are indisputably true, but they are not the basis of the criminal charges. 

The criminal charges come because the money used to pay off the two women came from the Trump Organization but was never reported as a campaign contribution. 

Follow the money. Remember Al Capone? He finally went to prison for tax evasion. 

While the indictment has not yet been released, PBS NewsHour summarizes two likely charges

“Accounting fraud. According to The New York Times, the charges may include falsifying records, a violation of the New York Penal Law. The idea is that the payments to Clifford were falsely written as something else in the books of the Trump Organization, and Trump knew, “with intent to defraud.” That offense is often a misdemeanor. However, it can be elevated to a felony if the fraud is covering up other, serious criminal activity.

“Campaign finance charges. There could also be charges that the payment was a hidden campaign activity, because it was intended to help Trump as a then-candidate for president.”

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, has already pleaded guilty and served time for his part in the cover-up of the campaign contributions. 

I like this tweet from Lady Emily: “You all may find this funny, but this outcome has serious terrifying legal repercussions down the line for the average American in the future who want to use hush money to try and bury a sex scandal so it doesn’t ruin their presidential campaign.”

After creating a “Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government” to investigate the FBI and Justice Department, McCarthy and his right-wing posse now want to weaponize the House of Representatives to go after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. You might think that the House of Representatives has no jurisdiction over a state prosecutor. You would be right, but McCarthy and his vigilante crew don’t care.

Alvin Bragg became Manhattan District Attorney in 2022, after being elected in November 2021. He previously served as a federal prosecutor, an assistant attorney general for the state of New York, and a civil rights attorney. He graduated from Harvard Law School. 

The Trumpist verbal attacks already have inspired death threats against Bragg.

His office has already prosecuted the Trump Organization, resulting in a January 2023 conviction for conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records in a 15-year-long tax fraud scheme and a and $1.6 million in fines. 

Other prosecutions may be coming. Prosecutors in Georgia continue to investigate Trump’s election interference and the Department of Justice continues its investigations of his attempts to overturn the 2020 election and his taking, concealment, and refusal to return classified documents. 

Stay tuned: this one is far from over.  

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