OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump’s case in Manhattan, New York, which was brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, is being panned by prominent figures as being weak and politically motivated.
Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 charges regarding allegations that he falsified business records related to adult film star Stormy Daniels’ hush-money case. Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury in a case involving his purported role in hush money payments to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, allegedly to keep Daniels quiet about an affair the two of them had in 2006.
Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz expressed skepticism of the legal grounds supporting Bragg’s case, saying he is using “made-up laws” to muster a politically motivated attack.
“Nobody should ever be arrested based on made-up laws or combining a federal and state statute,” Dershowitz told The Epoch Times in an interview in March when news broke that Trump could be criminally charged. “I taught criminal law for 50 years at Harvard, and the one rule was, no creativity is permitted by prosecutors. The law has to be clear.”
“It’s not a righteous prosecution. It’s not a just prosecution. And I think every libertarian, whether you’re conservative, or liberal, should be opposed to it,” he said.
John Bolton — who served as a national security adviser in the Trump administration and has since come out against Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign — appeared on CNN and blasted the charges filed against his ex-boss, former President Trump, saying the indictment was “even weaker than I feared it would be.”
“Speaking as someone who very strongly does not want Donald Trump to get the Republican presidential nomination, I’m extraordinarily distressed by this document,” Bolton said on CNN. “I think this is even weaker than I feared it would be.”
Notorious anti-Trump GOP Sen. Mitt Romney issued a statement saying: “I believe President Trump’s character and conduct make him unfit for office. Even so, I believe the New York prosecutor has stretched to reach felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda. No one is above the law, not even former presidents, but everyone is entitled to equal treatment under the law. The prosecutor’s overreach sets a dangerous precedent for criminalizing political opponents and damages the public’s faith in our justice system.”
Trump has been gearing up for what is becoming a more challenging 2024 presidential primary, but he has likely been put at a significant disadvantage by a Manhattan court.
“Trump threw up his hands in frustration Tuesday as a judge scheduled his criminal trial for March 25, 2024, putting the former president and current candidate in a Manhattan courtroom in the heat of next year’s presidential primary season,” the Associated Press reported.
During a pretrial hearing in the hush-money case involving adult film star Stormy Daniel, Trump appeared via video conference and scowled into the camera as Judge Juan Manuel Merchan advised that he clear his schedule of all other commitments for the potential duration of the trial, which might extend over several weeks, the AP noted further.
“Just had New York County Supreme Court hearing where I believe my First Amendment Rights, ‘Freedom of Speech,’ have been violated, and they forced upon us a trial date of March 25th, right in the middle of Primary season,” a frustrated Trump posted to his Truth Social platform.
“Very unfair, but this is exactly what the Radical Left Democrats wanted. It’s called ELECTION INTERFERENCE, and nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before!!!” Trump added.
The AP added:
Trump pleaded not guilty last month to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign to bury allegations that he had extramarital sexual encounters. He has denied wrongdoing.
Merchan said he arrived at the March 25 trial date after discussions with Trump’s lawyers and prosecutors. Trump’s lawyer, Susan Necheles, said Trump knew about the date prior to Tuesday’s hearing and said she didn’t see his exasperated reaction.
Trump’s case is proceeding in state court even as his lawyers seek to have it moved to federal court because some of the alleged conduct occurred while he was president. The Manhattan district attorney’s office has until next week to file paperwork stating why it should remain in state court, where the historic indictment was brought.
Trump’s Manhattan court date hearing comes as other lawyers for the former president sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting a meeting to discuss what they see as “unfair treatment” of their client.