Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's potential case against Donald Trump suddenly burst this week from what many believed was its grave. But that doesn't mean it has a great chance of success, a Daily Beast columnist warned Saturday.
Bragg reportedly dropped his office's investigation into Trump last year, triggering the resignations of Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz, the prosecutors working on the case. Pomerantz even later wrote a book about his dissatisfaction with how Bragg handled the case. No one ever spelled out exactly what happened in the case at the time, and why the probe appeared to be dead.
Bragg later insisted the investigation was ongoing, and, suddenly, the media is talking about a likely indictment against Trump soon in the hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.
But Bragg’s "newfound prosecutorial libido may not bode well for the potential prosecution," given its likely challenges, wrote columnist Shan Wu in the Beast. After what seemed to be a lengthy lull in the case, the apparent sudden "speed of the process" and "seeming haste with which Bragg has gone from zero to 60" is "cause for concern," Wu cautioned.
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The probe centers on a $130,000 payment to Daniels seven years ago to keep her quiet about her alleged relationship with Trump ahead of the 2016 election. The payment was made by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, who has testified that he was following Trump's orders and was reimbursed by his boss.
Cohen, who is expected to be a witness in the potential case, served time in prison for the payment, so it seems like Trump should, too. But Cohen is also a convicted felon, which could raise suspicions about his testimony, noted Wu.
For a felony conviction, Bragg must also prove that Trump falsified business records to cover up another crime, such as a state election law violation, Wu pointed out. Some legal experts have said Trump could say he paid off Daniels to save his marriage — not his campaign.
Bragg, meanwhile, refused to tip his hand in the apparently simmering case against Donald Trump in an interview with the Rev. Al Sharpton Saturday on MSNBC's "Politics Nation." But in what could be a hint, he did vow to fight crime from "the streets to the suites," quoting former Manhattan district attorney Robert Morganthau.
'I can’t talk about anything more than what I've [already] said," Bragg told Sharpton. "We have an active investigation."
Bragg insisted that the "same team" is "working with the same professionalism and rigor" on the case. He added that his office is following the "facts, no matter what party you are."
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