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Bragg’s Office Accused Of Tampering With Evidence In Trump Case

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A paralegal from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office testified on Friday that three pages of phone records between convicted liar Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels’s lawyer, Keith Davidson, were deleted from their evidence, while former President Donald Trump’s legal team was not notified about the removal, according to reports.

According to CNN, Trump attorney Emil Bove questioned paralegal Jaden Jarmel-Schneider on Friday concerning the deletion of three pages of 2018 phone records between Davidson and Cohen by Bragg’s office. The Epoch Times also reported that additional phone records involving conversations between Daniels’ manager, Gina Rodriguez, and then-National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard, regarding Daniels’ claims about her alleged affair were deleted as well.

The altered call records were submitted as evidence, the reports said, but Bragg’s office failed to inform Trump’s defense team that three pages were missing.

Tampering with evidence is a class E felony in the Empire State under New York Consolidation Laws, Penal Law § 215.40, which states in part:

A person is guilty of tampering with physical evidence when: Believing that certain physical evidence is about to be produced or used in an official proceeding or a prospective official proceeding, and intending to prevent such production or use, he suppresses it by any act of concealment, alteration or destruction, or by employing force, intimidation or deception against any person.

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In a post to the X platform on Friday, Donald Trump Jr. described the development as “insanity.”

“How on earth is this not a felony committed by Bragg and his minions? It sure would be if team Trump did it,” he wrote.

“I’d love if we had actual journalists that would report on this ongoing travesty. Sadly, proper journalism is dead. They’re just scribes for the regime,” he added.

Bragg, who ran for office with a platform that included pursuing legal action against Trump, indicted the former president in April 2023 on 34 felony charges of falsifying business records. Bragg claims that Trump’s lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, made a payment to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election to silence her regarding an alleged affair that Trump denies. According to Bragg, this payment was aimed at influencing the election outcome and should have been recorded as a campaign expense, not a legal expense.

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Multiple legal entities, including the Federal Election Commission and the federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, examined the allegations years ago and determined that there was no merit to them. Bragg initially refused to charge Trump when he took office but appeared to engage in legal gymnastics to charge the former president later.

Trump’s defense team filed a motion for a mistrial, which was denied by Judge Juan Merchan. Additionally, Merchan restricted the defense’s ability to present its case by limiting the testimony of former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith regarding campaign finance-related issues, The Federalist reported last week.

Smith was expected to testify that “almost anything a candidate does can be interpreted as intended to ‘influence an election’” though “not every expense that might benefit a candidate is an obligation that exists solely because the person is a candidate.”

But Merchan ruled Smith can now only testify to the “general background as to what the Federal [Election] Commission is, background as to who makes up the FEC, what the FEC’s function is, what laws, if any, the FEC is responsible for enforcing, and general definitions and terms that relate directly to his case, such as for example ‘campaign contribution.’”

Georgetown University law professor and Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley suggested earlier this month that Merchan might have erred by allowing Bragg’s team of prosecutors, under the direction of former Biden Justice Dept. official Michael Colangelo—who previously held the position of acting associate attorney general—to assert that Trump was involved in breaking federal election laws. Turley said the manner in which those payments have been described to the jury thus far is simply false.

“I got to tell you, I think this judge may have already committed reversible error,” Turley told “Fox and Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt. “He could try to amend it, he could try to change it in his instructions, but that jury has now been told repeatedly that there are federal election crimes here, strongly suggesting that the payment to Stormy Daniels did violate federal election laws. That’s just not true.”

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