OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
If Alvin Bragg is looking for a felony in the case he has brought against former President Donald Trump he may want to look in the mirror, in his office or at his grand jury.
Legal scholar and famed attorney Alan Dershowitz said, in an interview and in an op-ed, that whoever leaked the sealed indictment is the person guilty of the only felony, in his opinion, in this case.,
“It is likely that a serious felony has been committed right under District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s nose and he is not investigating it. Under New York law, it is a felony to leak confidential grand jury information, such as whether the jurors voted to indict. The protection of secrecy is as applicable to President Trump as it is to anyone else,” the attorney said in an op-ed for The New York Sun.
“We know that the information was disclosed while the indictment itself remains sealed and before any official announcement was made or charges brought. It is unlikely that the leak came from the Trump team, which seemed genuinely surprised,” he said.
“The most likely, though uncertain, scenario is that a person in Mr. Bragg’s office or a grand juror unlawfully leaked the sealed information. That would be a class E felony, subject to imprisonment.
“It is possible of course that an investigation is underway, but it seems more likely that Mr. Bragg is too busy making up a crime against the man he promised in his campaign to get than investigating a real crime that took place on his watch,” he said.
Dershowitz said that it appears Bragg’s theory is that the former president should have disclosed why he paid for a non-disclosure agreement to adult film star Stormy Daniels which would defeat the purpose to the non-disclosure agreement.
“Why would Mr. Trump pay the money in the first place if he had to publicly disclose the embarrassing reason? Furthermore, no one in history has ever been indicted for listing ‘legal expenses’ for setting a potentially embarrassing payment of hush money,” he said.
“Thus, even the misdemeanor allegation involving false entries is unprecedented and represents selective prosecution. It is also almost certainly barred by the two-year statute of limitations. In order to elevate this bookkeeping case into a felony, Mr. Bragg must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the reason Trump made the false entry — if he himself did it — was solely as a campaign contribution to help him win his election,” he said.
What that means is that even if only part of the reason he made the payment was to protect his family from scrutiny or to protect his business interests there is no crime.
And if someone in Bragg’s office, or Bragg himself leaked the indictment they could face as many as five years in prison.
“If somebody on the grand jury, prosecutor or grand juror, leaked the fact that there was a vote to indict, that is a one – five year class E felony under New York,” he said on Fox News.
“Bragg now has a prima facia case that a crime has been committed right in his building, but as far as I know he’s not investigating it” he said.
“We don’t know who did the leak. It is conceivable it could have been done by somebody in the Trump administration but I doubt it because they seem to have been taken by great surprise so the most likely source of the leak is someone from within Bragg’s office or within the grand jury. That’s where the focus ought to be,” he said.
Prior to the indictment being leaked Dershowitz said that he believed Bragg could be disbarred for his case against Trump.
He appeared on the Fox News show “Sunday Morning Futures” with host Maria Bartiromo when he said that having Michael Cohen as a witness could damage the district attorney, Mediaite reported.
“I don’t think an indictment can actually come forward now after the comments made by [Robert] Costello,” the attorney said.
He said that “he has proved that the main witness is going to be a perjuring liar on the witness stand, and that puts the district attorney in a terrible position.”
“If he uses Cohen as a witness, he could actually lose his bar license. It’s unethical to put a witness on the stand who you know is lying, and he has to know that Cohen will be lying. Or he tries the case without Cohen, which would be very difficult, or he does the right thing: he drops the case,” he said.