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A Political Prosecution

State of the Union: A Democratic partisan wants to kneecap the chief political rival of the Democratic president.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. (Barry Williams/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Several sources, including the former president, claim Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg plans to bring felony charges against Donald Trump.

Trump indicated on Truth Social that he expects the arrest to occur tomorrow. A spokesman for Bragg's office says the prosecutor and his team haven't notified Trump of a pending indictment, though the New York Times reports Bragg's office asked Trump to testify before a grand jury.


The charges are related to alleged payments Trump made to lawyer Michael Cohen in 2017 that the lawyer later directed to porn star Stormy Daniels. The supposed crime is a felony falsification of business records, which N.Y. 175.10 defines as falsifying records with the "intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof." The crime is typically a misdemeanor under New York law, with a two year statute of limitations for continuous state residents, and only becomes a felony when the records are falsified to further another criminal purpose, which extends the statute of limitations to five years.

The supposedly criminal element of Trump's behavior was not his having paid hush money to a porn star—that is legal in these United States of America—but that the payment to Michael Cohen later sent to Daniels was incorrectly reported as "legal expenses."

A prosecutor with any respect for the law or concern for the future of his country would not perp-walk, handcuff, and book a former president of the United States on a tortured legal theory that even the biggest anti-Trump partisan would acknowledge would not be brought against anyone else. It would be a transparently political prosecution by a Democratic partisan meant to kneecap the Democratic president's chief rival in advance of an upcoming election.

It is also an example of what reporter Aaron Sibarium calls "progressive carceralism," that is, the practice of punishing disfavored offenders and classes of offenses with an Old Testament fervor while categorically refusing to enforce the law against favored offenders. Bragg, even as he seeks to indict the former president for a business-records violation, has declined to enforce laws against resisting arrest, sought to depopulate the city's prisons, and recommended his deputies bring lesser charges against certain armed robbers.

Defense attorney Scott Greenfield summarized it this way: “The same people who are anti-incarceration for some defendants will support life plus cancer for others."