During a CNN panel discussion about reports that Donald Trump is facing an imminent indictment relating to a 2016 payoff made to adult performer Stormy Daniels, CNN's John Avlon was dismayed to hear the former president could be convicted and still avoid jail time.
Late Thursday it was reported that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has asked Trump to testify next week about paying Daniels to keep quiet about their alleged affair prior to the 2016 election.
Sitting down with "CNN This Morning" hosts Don Lemon and Kaitlan Collins, along with legal analyst Elie Honig, attempted to explain what to expect from what he called a potential "monumental" indictment.
"Let's put it in perspective," he began. "If there is an indictment of the president it will be a first, it will be historic, it will be monumental but we need to keep perspective here. This will be a state charge brought by a local elected county district attorney; this is not the feds, this is not the Justice Department."
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"The laws that they will be charging here, the New York State laws are going to either be a misdemeanor --and just for comparison, shoplifting under $1,000 in New York state is a misdemeanor -- no one is going to jail for a misdemeanor, or the potentially the lowest level of felony, Class E, A-E," he explained before addressing fellow panelist Avoln with, " I see you getting ready."
"These are facts," he told his CNN colleague. "We're looking at a case that is going to be best case scenario the lowest level felony and could result in no prison time."
"Which is insane and here's why," Avlon interjected. "First of all, this is an accusation that an alleged crime, if they do indict, we need to say this hasn't occurred yet, that already sent somebody to jail, Michael Cohen, who was lying on Trump's behalf had and had a history of doing so."
"The reason this hasn't been brought was that for four years Trump was shielded by the OLC opinion that he couldn't be charged as president," he added. "And this is a payoff used as hush money that could have swung the outcome of an election."
"This is not shoplifting!" he exclaimed. "This isn't in the same world universe as shoplifting. There was an impulse to hide this because it could have impacted the outcome of an American election. So all those reasons are why it matters."
Watch the video below or at this link.
CNN 03 10 2023 06 01 15 youtu.be