As Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg tries to hang a felony charge on former President Donald Trump, leaks from the grand jury indictment against the former president could leave Bragg facing his own felony charge — if he was the source of the leak.
As noted by Newsweek, pieces of the indictment, but not the full document, have been leaked to the media, hence reports have been flying that there are 30 counts against Trump, at least one of which is a felony. Bragg is also dealing with calls from House Republicans to provide documents related to his investigation of Trump, NBC reported.
Leaking grand jury documents is a felony in New York. And that means Bragg could be in trouble, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote in a commentary piece published Friday by the New York Sun.
“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,” Dershowitz wrote.
“The most likely, though uncertain, scenario is that a person in Mr. Bragg’s office or a grand juror unlawfully leaked the sealed information,” he wrote.
“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,” Dershowitz wrote.
Dershowitz’s perspective was shared by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
“[A]s if all of that were not third-world enough, someone leaked the news of Donald Trump’s grand jury indictment to the media. Now, that in itself is a crime under the law in New York. In fact, a much bigger crime than those under which Donald Trump is being charged,” Carlson wrote on Fox News.
“Will Alvin Bragg prosecute the leaker? Please. It’s almost certainly someone in his own office,” Carlson wrote.
In an interview noted by Newsweek, Trump attorney James Trusty denounced “leaked indictments making their way out to the public.”
“Again, with Donald Trump, there’s just rule of law. This is just a small example of it that begins with Alvin Bragg’s persecution — his stated aim of indicting him,” he said.
Dershowitz had said earlier that Bragg’s reliance on former Trump attorney Michael Cohen as his key witness could be trouble for the district attorney, because Cohen has already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. Grand jury testimony from Robert Costello, a former legal adviser to Cohen, also attacked Cohen’s credibility, according to The New York Times.
“If [Bragg] uses Cohen as a witness, he could actually lose his bar license,” Dershowitz told Fox Business Network’s “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” in a March 26 interview, according to Mediaite.
That was four days before the news of the indictment exploded on the scene on Thursday.
“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,” Dershowitz said. “Or he tries the case without Cohen, which would be very difficult, or he does the right thing: He drops the case.”
In the Sun piece, Dershowitz wrote that based on existing leaks, the indictment is related to how payments were entered on the books of the Trump Organization.
“[T]he 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 wrote.
“If Mr. Trump was motivated in part by his desire to protect his wife, children, and business interests from harmful disclosures, that would not constitute the crime of making an undisclosed campaign contribution. So this too is a stretch.”
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