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Turley Declares Trump’s Case Should End With ‘Not Guilty’ Verdict

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


Noted legal expert and Georgetown Law School professor Jonathan Turley said on Monday that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecutors did not make a convincing case against former President Donald Trump in his hush money trial, so jurors should find him “not guilty.”

In an op-ed for the New York Post, Turley asserted that Trump’s defense lawyers “are in a rather curious position” because they are not certain exactly what crimes they are defending their clients against since prosecutors did not clearly state what laws he allegedly violated.

“Even liberal legal analysts admitted that they could not figure out what was being alleged in [District Attorney Alvin] Bragg’s indictment. Now, after weeks of trial, the situation has changed little,” Turley wrote, adding that Judge Juan Merchan has even instructed jurors they do “not have to agree on what that crime is.”

“The jury has been given little substantive information on these crimes, and Merchan has denied a legal expert who could have shown that there was no federal election violation,” he added.

Turley then compared Trump’s case — and every legal case — to a three-legged stool, writing that should “any leg is missing, the stool collapses”:

–Falsification of records

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–Secondary crime

–Criminal intent

Regarding alleged falsification, defense witnesses made it clear during their testimony that it was an antiquated system that labeled payments as “legal expenses,” and “there was no evidence that Trump knew of how the payments were denoted,” Turley wrote.

As for a secondary crime, there isn’t any, Turley said: “The defense has to hammer away on the fact that no one has testified that it was a federal campaign violation.”

The prosecution relied heavily on Cohen’s testimony to show criminal intent, “yet even Cohen did not offer a clear basis for showing a criminal intent to use unlawful means to influence the election,” Turley wrote. To be sure, after defense attorneys discredited Cohen, the only real crime he could even attest to was stealing $60,000 from the Trump Organization, the professor said.

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“In the end, this three-legged stool is the very thing that all of us must stand on when accused. Who on the jury would want to stand on this stool with their own liberty at stake?” he wrote.

“In the end, we are all standing on that wobbly stool when the government seeks to convict people without evidence or even a clear crime. If we allow a conviction, it is more than a stool that will collapse in this Manhattan courtroom,” he concluded.

Turley made some critical observations about Judge Merchan earlier this month, in particular citing what he believes is a “reversible error.”

Turley claimed that Merchan may have made a mistake by allowing prosecutors, under the direction of Michael Colangelo, a former official in the Biden administration who served as acting associate attorney general, to assert that Trump was involved in breaking federal election laws regarding $130,000 in hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

The Federal Election Commission subsequently determined that those payments were not campaign-related, and federal prosecutors in New York found nothing improper when they examined the case around 2018.

“I got to tell you, I think this judge may have already committed a 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.”

“Michael Cohen is literally going to tell that jury, ‘Please send my client to jail for following my legal advice,’” Turley said. “All of the stuff that they are talking about, he set up, he structured this and told his client that, ‘we could do this.’”

“It’s a bizarre moment,” Turley added.

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