Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz has responded to the news that former president Donald Trump will be indicted.
“In 60 years of practice, this is the worst case of prosecutorial abuse I have ever seen,” Dershowitz said in a call with The Epoch Times on Thursday.
Dershowitz was responding to the news that a Manhattan jury voted to indict Trump on charges surrounding alleged hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, making Trump the first former president to be criminally charged in the nation’s history. It spawned from an investigation conducted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office that included grand jury testimony by Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen and Cohen’s former lawyer, Robert Costello.
Days before the 2016 presidential election, Cohen allegedly paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence on an alleged 2008 tryst between her and Trump—which the former president denies. Cohen pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws in 2018 for arranging payment to Daniels and another woman claiming to have had an affair with Trump. In his guilty plea, Cohen claims to have done so at Trump’s direction and was reimbursed by the Trump Organization through routine legal expenses.
While no charges have been announced, Dershowitz said Bragg likely relied on elevating a charge of falsifying business records involving the payment to Daniels—a misdemeanor—to a felony by tying it to a federal charge of campaign finance violation.
“In order to turn the state statute into a felony, you have to borrow a federal statute,” Dershowitz told The Epoch Times in an interview earlier in March. He said that this combining of laws “seems to raise real serious legal questions.”
“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 on March 18. “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.”
“In Bragg’s case, what they’re trying to do is add one and one, and come up with 11. No rational person would look at these two statutes and say that Trump violated them,” Dershowitz said. “Thomas Jefferson once put it very nicely: For a criminal statute to be constitutional, the average person has to be able to understand it if he reads it while running.”
The case pursued by Bragg, a Democrat, is politically motivated, Dershowitz says.
“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. “There seem to be two systems of justice in America—one for the rest of us, and the other for Trump—and that’s the thesis of my book, ‘Get Trump.’ There is a special system of targeted injustice against Trump, and this is coming from a liberal Democrat who voted against him twice.
Dershowitz dismissed the idea that these cases would exert a material impact on Trump’s candidacy in the 2024 presidential election.
“He’s not going to get prison. Nonetheless, he can run as a convicted defendant,” Dershowitz said, referring to the 2024 election. “He can run from prison.”
“They’re just rummaging through the law books and doing everything they can to get him, but I don’t think they’ve succeeded,” he added. “I can’t imagine that an appellate court would ever hold this, but I don’t think Bragg cares about this. He wants the publicity of a perp walk and an arrest.”
Trump issued a statement on Thursday afternoon responding to the news of his indictment, calling it “political persecution and election interference.”
“From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats—the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country—have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement,” Trump wrote in a statement posted on Truth Social on Thursday.
“Never before in our Nation’s history has this been done. The Democrats have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President, has never happened before. Ever.”
Trump, a Florida resident, is expected to be arraigned next week in New York.
“This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal,” reads a statement from Bragg’s office, sent to media outlets on Thursday. “Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis echoed Trump’s view in a statement promptly following the release of the news, saying that Bragg is “stretching the law” in prosecuting Trump and that Florida will not assist with an extradition request.
“The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head,” DeSantis wrote in a post on Twitter on Thursday. “Florida will not assist in an extradition request given the questionable circumstances at issue with this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor and his political agenda.”
From The Epoch Times