Legal Experts Says It’s ‘Open Season’ On Former Presidents After Trump’s ‘Modern Day Salem Witch Trial’

The NY v. Trump case ‘doesn’t even pass the laugh test,’ experts say

Fox News

(Fox News) Former President Donald Trump’s trial in Manhattan was a “modern day Salem witch trial” that has opened the floodgates to district attorneys across the nation prosecuting former presidents, experts told Fox News Digital.

“No matter how you twist and warp the traditional role of the prosecutor, it’s always going to have a bad outcome. It’s bad for the legal system. And you now see two DAs — both of whom are Soros, rogue prosecutors — using their office to go after somebody who, if his name had not been Trump, no DA would have even blinked an eye his way. [They are using] the law in a perverted way for purely political reasons,” Heritage Foundation legal fellow Charles “Cully” Stimson told Fox News Digital in a phone interview.

“It doesn’t even pass the laugh test,” he added.

Donald Trump in coat, yellow tie at defense table in courtroom
Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sits in the courtroom during his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on May 21, 2024. After approximately five weeks, 19 witnesses, reams of documents and a dash of salacious testimony, the prosecution against Donald Trump rested its case May 21, 2024, handing over to the defense before closing arguments expected next week.   (Michael M. Santiago/PoolAFP via Getty Images)

Bragg charged former Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree last year, with Trump pleading not guilty and slamming the case as a “scam.” He was found guilty on May 30 by a Manhattan jury.

Trump has maintained his innocence since the verdict, and he has launched an appeal in the case.

Prosecutors needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump falsified 34 business records to conceal a $130,000 payment to former pornography actor Stormy Daniels in the lead-up to the 2016 election to silence her about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006.

The House Judiciary, which is chaired by Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, held a hearing Thursday regarding Trump’s prosecution, hearing from four experts on the matter, including Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey and Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission Trey Trainor. The committee will hold another hearing next month, one day after Trump is sentenced, when it will host Bragg himself, as well as prosecutor and former DOJ official Matthew Colangelo.

Rep. Jim Jordan presiding over congressional hearing
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, listens as Attorney General Merrick Garland appears before a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Wednesday, September 20, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“With his unprecedented politicized indictment of President Trump, Manhattan District Attorney Bragg has opened the door for politically motivated prosecutions of federal officials by state and local prosecutors. Other ambitious state prosecutors have already followed Bragg’s lead and pursued politically motivated indictments of President Trump,” committee Republicans said of the hearing Thursday.

“On April 4, 2023, after campaigning on his experience in investigating President Trump and in response to intense pressure from left-wing activists, Bragg charged President Trump with 34 felony counts for falsifying business records. Falsifying business records is ordinarily a misdemeanor subject to a two-year statute of limitations, which would have expired long ago. While Bragg is systematically downgrading most felonies in Manhattan to misdemeanors, he used a novel and untested legal theory—previously declined by federal prosecutors—to upgrade the charges against President Trump to felonies. Bragg’s case against President Trump has beset by due process and procedural irregularities,” they added.

Fox News Digital spoke to the authors of “Rogue Prosecutors: How Radical Soros Lawyers Are Destroying America’s Communities,” Stimson and fellow Heritage senior fellow Zack Smith, who explained that the role of the district attorney is to prosecute cases and keep the community safe. The pair both agreed in separate interviews that the case was one that weaponized the legal system. 

“This clearly is essentially a weaponization of the legal system. And I think if we zoom out and look at the 40,000-foot perspective, I think it quickly becomes clear, that if the defendant wasn’t named Donald Trump, this case never would have been brought. And that’s particularly apparent if you look at the other policies and actions Alvin Bragg has taken since he’s been elected District Attorney,” Smith said.

DA Alvin Bragg, New York County, NY
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks to the media after a jury found former President Donald Trump guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records on Thursday, May 30, 2024, in New York.  (AP/Seth Wenig)

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