Manhattan prosecutors have reopened a "zombie case" that has dogged Donald Trump since the early days of his presidency, and panelists on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" were only surprised by the mountain of legal problems piling up on the former president.
District attorney Alvin Bragg has empaneled a grand jury to hear evidence in the hush-money scheme involving adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 campaign, and co-host Mika Brzezinski asked criminal defense attorney Caroline Polisi to put Trump's problems in perspective.
"Have you ever seen -- and maybe the answer is yes -- have you ever seen an individual in history with so many different legal challenges weighing him down, whether it be to do with the finances of his own company, rape charges against him, the Georgia investigation, the 'big lie,' the two -- the Jan. 6 investigation, special counsel?" Brzezinski said. "I mean, this is a pretty long list, so that's No. 1. I mean, how many legal challenges can one person face without drowning in them? No. 2, this one seems like so far back in time, it seems smaller in scope. Could this lead to real consequences?"
Polisi agreed this case seemed minor compared to some of the other crimes Trump is accused of committing, but she said this prosecution could still result in a prison sentence.
READ MORE: 'Bloody his nose': Conservative begs prospective Trump rivals to get aggressive
"The question is, which one is going to stick?" Polisi said. "We thought it'd be the documents case, that's been obliterated. This one looks like it is sort of coming up. You're right, finance crimes of this nature are not sort of the crime of the century. Falsification of documents in New York is a low-level offense. However, prosecutors can kick it up to a felony offense if they can show that the falsification of the records was done in the pursuit of violating a second New York state law, a second crime. That law has been untested. It's akin to what Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to on a federal level in a campaign finance law violation, the misdocumentation and giving a campaign contribution over the legal limit."
Cohen served three years in prison, mostly in home confinement, for his role in the scheme, and Washington Post columnist Eugene Daniels said the saga was just the way Trump conducted his life.
"These are the dramas of Donald Trump's life, right?" Robinson said. "I wonder if you picked a random week in Donald Trump's life, you wouldn't find some prosecutable crime -- paying hush money, fiddling the taxes, doing something. This is kind of business as usual for Donald Trump. I guess it does seem like this was a long time ago, Stormy Daniels."
"I realize there is legal jeopardy for the president here," he added. "If I were Donald Trump or his legal team, I think I'd probably be a little more focused on the Georgia potential prosecution for trying to overturn the election and defraud the people of Georgia and take away their voice in the presidential election by finding 11,000 extra votes. I would be looking at the special counsel who has a host of issues to look into, so, you know, this is the way it happens, I guess, sometimes. It's these little sleeper things, the zombie cases that won't die, but I don't think this is -- I think Michael Cohen is wrong. I don't think this is the direst threat to Donald Trump. I think those other cases present much more of a threat to the former president."
01 31 2023 06 04 30 www.youtube.com