Conservative gadfly Bill Kristol dismissed the seriousness of the charges against Donald Trump for the hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Some legal experts have a different take.
Kristol compared Trump to former presidential candidate John Edwards, who engaged a third party to make the hush money payments. The jury ultimately acquitted Edwards — but Trump's case is more complicated.
In Trump's case, he not only paid off Daniels through his lawyer, but he also paid off Karen McDougal through a third party, The National Enquirer. The tabloid's chief, David Pecker, was given immunity in the case involving Michael Cohen.
What was also different in the Trump case is the former president used his business to funnel the money and created false records to hide it.
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On Wednesday, MSNBC host Ari Melber cited a New York Times report saying that the falsification of business records is the "bread and butter" of the Manhattan district attorney's office case.
Rebecca Roiphe, former Manhattan assistant district attorney appearing with Melber, explained it's illegal — and it's particularly serious if the accused person was doing it to cover up another crime.
"I wouldn't get caught up in whether it's an A felony or a B felony or an E felony," she said. "It's a felony. That's a serious crime."