Trump prosecutors are not there yet

I admit I have not been following the Trump trial closely, not reading the transcripts. The time put in won’t justify the result, I think, and I am already on record as to the outcome.


On April 30, I made the wise-guy but sincere prediction on Facebook you see above.

It was my way of saying some covert MAGA person would get on the jury and vote to acquit, no matter what. The jury would break 11-1, creating a mistrial. 

I now think it could be 10-2, or even 9-3.


I have been reading newspaper accounts, but leaning heavier on the three Big Three cable outlets — Fox, MSNBC, and CNN, listed in the order of their audience, largest to smallest.

On Fox, generally speaking, nothing has been proven. On MSNBC Monday night, everything is a “smoking gun,” in the words of Rachel Maddow. She sees a gun, I see a pee-shooter. CNN’s panels are overwhelmingly anti-Trump, but the network always has a Trump asshat advocate.

Monday’s Big Reveal was that ex-con and proven perjurer Michael Cohen, colluded with ex-con and former Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg, and future felon ex-President Donald J. Trump to pay porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep her mouth shut, something she does not do in her films.

There is a dispute as to whether Trump shagged Daniels. She says yes, he says no, but it is immaterial, as shtupping  a woman (even without a condom, she alleges) is not illegal. Immoral and a health risk, maybe, but not a crime.

And neither is the “hush money,” which is materially no different than Non Disclosure Agreements which many companies, such as the Philadelphia Inquirer,  force departing employees to sign as they leave if they want to take a pile of cash with them. 

Now, I could not write that previous paragraph, which is critical of the Inquirer, without getting sued — and in fact the Inquirer did sue me for breech of that NDA which prohibited any negative mention of the paper, its policies, its employees.

Long story short, it dropped its retaliatory and bullshit lawsuit against me, and deleted the gag order language from my contract, and everyone else’s. So we are all free to offer fair criticism. 

Point being, “hush money” is an SOP business practice.

Next point: Trump wrote it off as “legal expenses” because he was paying back Cohen, who had fronted the money. 

Could you not really call the payoff a “legal expense”? Sure, maybe a stretch, but someone on the jury will buy that, I think.

I mentioned the Inquirer’s  suit against me was retaliatory. My opinion, of course, but it followed my defamation suit against the Inquirer and architecture critic Inga Saffron. All I will say about that is this: I won, and the Inquirer sued me about three years after I sued it, as my case was heading to the jury. 

And for that case, as I remember, I bought lunch for my lawyers and paid their parking as they were working on contingency.

Was lunch a “legal expense”? 

I think it was, but unlike some people I could name, I don’t cheat on my taxes and didn’t write it off.

Trump is charged with disguising that payment as a legal transaction, and he falsified business records.

You already have my opinion on the former, and as to the latter — this is a felony? 

No doubt Trump’s lawyers will manage to introduce that D.A. Adam Bragg pumped up the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony, and used the law as it has never been used before.

That may not be factually germane to the case, but might influence a juror or two who, like me, don’t like Trump, but don’t like what’s called lawfare either.

Even if the prosecution proves Trump falsified business records, I stick with my prediction: He won’t be convicted.

Here’s another one: Bragg won’t seek a retrial.

21 thoughts on “Trump prosecutors are not there yet”

  1. When I sat through the Fumo trial for five months, I got an education on what prosecutors can do with an unsympathetic defendant. In the Fumo case, the prosecutors actually and successfully argued that everything Vince Fumo did in his decades-long career in government was motivated by greed and a desire to steal.

    If Fumo got a raise for one of his employees, he was only trying to bribe that person to be a lifelong serf, and do personal favors for him. And that’s why the government is STILL waging an IRS case against him to get him to pay taxes on all the raises he got for his employees, because the government’s position was that the employees did not deserve the raises and that even though a dime of that money never went in Fumo’s pocket, he should still have to pay taxes on it.

    People are complex; so are their motives. But what the government was able to do with Fumo was to sell a cartoon version of him as pure evil to a gullible jury, while the Inquirer mindlessly cheered them on.

    In that trial, the government succeeded in criminalizing what was formerly known as politics as usual. When an unsympathetic defendant is singled out for destruction, we may cheer the government on, but they are really only increasing their power to do whatever the hell they want. And we might be the next victim.

    1. Well, Vince was convicted on all 137 counts, which was amazing. And there wasn’t a LARGE base of voters, or jurors, who worshipped him.

  2. What the corrupt democratic led justice system is doing to Trump should be a wake up call for everyone. Just like the fake Russian hoax this is election interference and the politicization of our justice system.

    1. A. The Mueller Report clearly established that there WAS Russian interference in the election, but sure, Daniel, don’t let the facts get in the way of your delusions. B. Trump is on trial because a grand jury of normal American decided that there was enough evidence to indict him. This has nothing to do with politics whatsoever, and any suggestion that Biden is behind the actions of the New York Department of Justice (or the Georgia Department of Justice, or the documents case) is asinine. And if Michael Cohen’s testimony is deemed believable (which may or may be the case), Trump WILL be convicted. The crime here, remember, is that the orange buffoon blatantly covered up his many transgressions so that he could win an election. He can fuck anyone he wants. Nobody gives a flying fuck about that.

      It’s really embarrassing when people like you continue to defend a career criminal like this guy, who has spent literally HIS ENTIRE LIFE fucking people like you over without consequence. You people continue to frame Biden as either a criminal mastermind or a blithering idiot. Which is it??

      1. There was a law professor who was a guest on msnbc last week who said he believed that trump committed federal campaign finance violations BUT that his opinion was irrelevant and once the fec cleared him of campaign finance violations and the justice dept declined to prosecute him on federal campaign finance violations that thats thr end of it as far as a felony goes . That Bragg can’t get a local jury to make a finding that trump committed a federal felony when the fec and rhe justice dept both declined to pursue charges on that felony. So hes 100% convinced that any felony conviction will get overturned on appeal . If I was on the jury , I’d have to vote not guilty because I’d take the opinon of the fec and the justice dept over some local d.a .
        Question – why do you feel trunp is guilty but Jon Edward’s was innocent? Especially when Edward s paid off his mistress with $ 1 million but trump only paid $ 130 k ?

  3. I think the prosecution is attempting to frame this not as “hush money”, or an NDA type of deal, but as an act of election interference. I too am not following the trial, other than in cursory daily summaries, but I do not believe they’ll be successful. The result will be the same, a hung jury. Will the prosecution want to try him again, just to tie him up? Doubtful, but anything is possible. As a side note, I look forward to the laughable comments that Daniel puts up–sometimes their even entertaining.

    1. Daniel is a classic Trumper. Never lets the facts get in the way of his delusions, and believes the word of a proven liar and thief over virtually everyone else in the world. It’s a cult.

      1. I didn’t vote for Biden. But I was hoping he would prove me wrong and do a good job. But he’s been a nightmare president. If you were fair and not full of hate you would admit Trump did a good job. But your a misguided uninformed idiot. So vote for Biden. I’m hoping people with common sense outnumber assholes like you.

      2. Can you give a reason why trump is guilty of federal campaign finance felonies for paying Daniel’s 130k while a ) jon Edward s got a n.g verdict in 3 hrs for paying his mistress $1 million and b ) when he was cleared by the fec and justice declined to charge trump with any federal campaign finance violations ?
        If a jury makes a finding that trump is guilty of federal campaign finance violations( so his local misdemeanor gets bumped up to felony ) , then a law professor on msnbc , not fox , predicted its easily overturned on appeal

    2. One big reason for my belief they will not retry is it would come after the election. If he wins, the case can’t be brought until his term ends, and by then, who gives a fuck? And if he loses, the same thing.
      But the D.A. Clearly suffers from TDS, so he is not guided by reason.
      Like Daniel, the Putin bot, whom I NEVER read, because it never changes.

      1. What is your diagnosis of Special Prosecutor Durham who lost two out of three? Sussman and Durchenko walked on unanimous acquittals, and the conviction he did get was a plea deal with no jail time. With the Sussman case, the legal press all said “no chance” but Durham brought it anyway. It was even weaker than this one. In the Durchenko case, the judge threw out one of the counts before it went to the jury, because there was no evidence presented to support it.

        Just wondering.

  4. Well, don’t forget that the DOJ filed a similar case against one-time Democratic candidate John Edwards. It ended up with a hung jury on the rest. So it is not as if this prosecution is unprecedented–just clearly not a slam dunk, with a hung jury being a clear likelihood.Trump, among other things, is mounting the same defense as Edwards did, which was that the hush money was to keep the knowledge from his family, not from the public in order to aid his campaign.

    Whether he did or did not do the deed with Daniels is not technically legally relevant. The defense would like to paint it as a made up story to undermine Daniels’ credibility. But true or not, it does not technically matter since the records would still be false. Since Trump will not be testifying, the only question on that credibility issue will be whether the jury believes Daniels. Without being in the room, it is impossible to guess how credible or not credible, sympathetic or unsympathetic she seemed. Aside from the legalisms, psychologically, his defense wants to give the jury someone to blame. A scheming, lying, extortionist is a good target, even though legally it does not make a difference.

    I think the defense bet here is that at least one juror will think that the scenario is so unfair that Trump should skate. Or that it will make a juror want to acquit and look under every rock for other reasons to do so.

    Next, from the opening statements, Trump intends to blame it on Cohen. The claim is that Cohen did the deal with minimal, if any, participation by Trump, and then just charged him for it. This, of course, hinges on Cohen’s credibility, which is certainly subject to attack. Again, impossible to tell how Cohen did on the stand. Likeable and believable or slimy and not credible? The defense problem here, as far as I can tell, is that Cohen recorded at least one conversation with Trump, and prosecutors tied his testimony together with documents following the transaction step-by-step. A lot depends on how cross-examination does. But this approach makes it difficult to claim the story is made up out of whole cloth. At least in terms of what Cohen said, Trump was in on the whole thing. Without taking the stand himself, which he dare not, that is hard to undermine.

    This goes to whether the jury thinks the records are “false.” I don’t think it is quite as simple as Stu suggests–that stretching it is a viable argument. According to Cohen, Trump knew the invoices were fake and were not services–as opposed to the Trump position that he basically said take care of it and bill me for it. You never know what a jury is going to do, but this is an odd jury, with two lawyers on it. (I’ve never been let on a jury. A lawyer is the last person at least one party would want in the jury room). I have trouble believing a stretch like that will pass muster.

    I’d also quibble with Stu’s idea that “No doubt Trump’s lawyers will manage to introduce that D.A. Adam Bragg pumped up the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony, and used the law as it has never been used before.” The former “pumped up the charge” seems likely to be introduced, but I don’t see the “never used before” unless his attorneys want to leave the courtroom in handcuffs. In part it is because it has been used before, though rarely and only in local elections, but also because it is irrelevant.

    The defense’s argument that “influencing an election is called democracy” is really not bad at all, and that lays the groundwork for what the “pumped up” argument is about. The counter is that it is illegal to influence an election illegally–in this case by the false records–and I think this is where the real weakness lies. That is, if Trump wrote the checks to Daniels instead of Cohen–or gave her a brief case filled with cash–and just kept it a secret, there would be no case–no false records, no “illegal” attempt to influence the election.

    A lot depends on what I call “atmospherics”–who is coming off well on the stand, how much does the transaction “stink” of sleaziness and dishonesty and to whom does that stick to the most? If the trial was televised, I’d have an opinion. Another thing that will affect it will be the jury instructions. What I want to know is if the jury will be given the option of convicting on “the lesser included offenses”–that is the misdemeanor false record violations. If so, I think that would be a likely “compromise verdict” that the jury might return. Haven’t seen anything on this possibility. Could be neither side will want that instruction in hopes of a total win.

    This case has long been tagged, rightfully so, as the weakest case against Trump. (It’s pretty much the consensus that the docs/Mar-a-lago case is a slam dunk, though Trump lucked out with a sympathetic judge who has delayed it past to the election.)

    So I think Stu’s prediction is a pretty good one, even though I think his reasoning isn’t perfect. With so much uncertainty about what, precisely, is happening in the courtroom, and the jury’s reaction to it, I’d say conviction is a 50-50 shot, to be adjusted up or down as the rest of the trial unfolds.

    Here’s the very sketchy juror makeup:
    Foreman: Middle-aged salesman originally from Ireland
    2 Male investment banker in his thirties
    3 Male corporate lawyer from Oregon
    4 Male security engineer from the Upper West Side
    5 Female English language arts teacher in Harlem, who said she appreciated how Trump “speaks his mind”
    6. Female software engineer
    7 Male lawyer on the Upper East Side
    8 Male retired wealth manager originally from Lebanon
    9 Female speech therapist
    10 Man who works in commerce
    11 Female product development manager
    12 Female physical therapist who admits she dislikes Trump

    So, 7 men, 5 women. One who likes Trump, one who doesn’t. Four upper-crust types; Two immigrants; Three in business or sales; Two engineers; Two therapists and an English teacher.

    Who are the hold outs?

    1. If I am wrong about never been used before, I apologize for the error.
      And disagreement with my opinions (or facts) is welcome here.
      From the sane, which eliminates you-know-who.

  5. Some of you people have lost your minds. This is a case that is STRICTLY political! I have sat through armed robbery cases with more evidence, and the guy got off. This is purely hatred for Trump, admit it. You could give a rat’s ass if it were the secretary of commerce on trail. Yet it’s Trump, who everybody was packing their bags, and leaving the country whe he got elected. Guess what? You are all still here. They turned a misdemeanor into a felony. Political, You can argue until the cows come home. If this were Biden, Clinton, Obama, or any other high profie politician, this would have been thrown out long ago. Judges in NYC and Da;s in NYC, would rather do this than spend time figuring out how to stop murders and figuring out how to protect their cops. So Trump, win or lose will win, because he will appeal. Yes appeal, and that will take a very long process. Star witness like a purgerer, a porn star, and a no show, is making this even a bigger circus. No matter what you think, even bad publicity in this case is good, becaus the NY Judicial system all look like asses.

    1. Well said. But the Trump haters don’t care. This bullshit case is costing a fortune. And the tax payers have to pay. Meanwhile real criminals are committing crimes and being let loose and committing more crimes.

      1. Biden, Clinton, and Obama didn’t have multiple felony charges against them because they did not break the law. Trump and his associates have committed real crimes that any realistic lawyer working for them would have told them not to do this.

        Trump and his associate’s are not above the law. Just like any other American citizen.

  6. Still waiting for you to explain how an increase of Indego bike trips by 21% doesn’t count.

    You Know Who

  7. Having no legal background, I am trying to make my comment short..
    First, let me say , I despise Trump.. If I were picked as a jurer, despite my animosity, I would question, the real motive of a witness like Michael Cohen..He is an admitted liar. Trumps lawyers have centered on Cohen admitting he wants him convicted . I think that it’s very possible this ends up with a hung jury..and that’s the end of it Trump as reckless as he seems to be, uses language that his defense team is to able to put reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind

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