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Alvin Bragg’s Case Against President Trump Is A Total Scam With No Basis In Law, Fact, Or Reality

Posted on Friday, April 19, 2024
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by Paul Ingrassia
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Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Prescott Valley Event Center in Prescott Valley, Arizona.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr

The weaponization of the rule of law has reached a point beyond repair in New York State, with the ongoing trial being waged by District Attorney Alvin Bragg against President Donald Trump.  Even at this late hour, the State has failed to prove 1) how President Trump falsified business records; 2) how the alleged falsification of the business records scheme was criminal; and 3) why that alleged crime should be prosecuted as a felony, rather than a misdemeanor, which is the typical charge for falsification schemes under New York State Law.

Given that President Trump’s alleged wrongdoing is being treated as criminal misconduct, the burden of proof is for the State to prove that Donald Trump is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for every single element of the asserted crime.  The legal burden of proof of “beyond a reasonable doubt” means that the prosecution must convince the jury that “there is no other reasonable explanation that can come from the evidence presented at trial.”  That incredibly high evidentiary threshold must be established for every single element of the crime alleged. What is more, criminal trials require unanimity on part of the jury; a hung jury will result in a mistrial, ultimately pushing the case back until after the November election, which is not what Bragg wants.

Obviously, the goal of Alvin Bragg and Letitia James is to prosecute – and put President Trump behind bars – as soon as possible (before election day ideally) to sabotage his chances of winning re-election.  President Trump’s re-election appears increasingly inevitable with the latest polls consistently putting him in a significant lead over Joe Biden.

President Trump is currently being tried under New York Penal Law 175.05.  The law ordinarily makes it a misdemeanornot a felony, to falsify business records with “intent to defraud.”  The law permits, however, the District Attorney to upgrade what ordinarily would be considered a misdemeanor to a Class E felony if the intent to defraud is combined with an intent to commit another crime.

Of course, the State has a heavy burden of proof to show that President Trump intended to defraud in the first place, let alone defraud with an intent to commit some other yet undefinable crime.  Paying off an adult film actress, if that even occurred, is not a crime under New York law.  The idea, then, that a fraud was intended, let alone committed, by what is widely recognized to be, at worst, a mere “clerical error” in how the President’s accountant reported the alleged payment to the tax collector, is absurd.  

Nobody seems to be asking who was lied to in this case – was it the public? The IRS? The FEC?  Moreover, even if a reporting error constitutes a lie, the lie must have been done with the requisite intent to be considered a fraud under law.  Errors in and of themselves hardly make a lie, let alone impute criminal fraud upon the one making the error.

If the State is attempting to argue, for instance, that President Trump’s accountant, lawyer, or (so the State’s theory goes) whoever intentionally misrepresented the hush money payment to defraud the public, the onus is still on Bragg and his team (which conveniently includes the Biden-DOJ political appointee, Matthew Colangelo) to show on what basis the injured party — here, “the people,” or public — would have relied on such fraud, resulting in a specified damage to them.  

Under New York law, in order to prove fraud, the State must show, by clear and convincing evidence, each and every one of the following elements:

  1. a material misrepresentation or omission of fact;
  2. made by defendant with knowledge of its falsity;
  3. and intent to defraud; 
  4. reasonable reliance on the part of the plaintiff; and 
  5. resulting damage to the plaintiff. 

The underlying assumption that appears to be working in the background and driving Bragg’s bogus fraud theory is that the public somehow would be damaged by the allegations of an extramarital affair implicating Donald Trump.  But it is difficult to see just exactly what those damages are. Sure, one could, I suppose, entertain the view that a portion of President Trump’s voter base might have been alienated from voting for him if revelations of an affair came to light, but that is a rather incredulous sell.  Moreover, a scandalized portion of President Trump’s voter base would only be indirectly related to this case, which, again, is not based on a hush money payment, but an alleged falsified business records scheme implicating a hush money payment that, on its own terms, has no legal significance, much less something that could impute criminality (let alone a felony) upon the perpetrator.

This is especially so given how much we already know about President Trump’s personal life, his marriages, divorces, etc., etc., etc., which are thoroughly documented, and have long been part of the national conversation and in the public record decades before President Trump ever thought of descending that escalator and stepping foot into the political arena.

There is no such thing, really, in criminal law as “moral” damages – or damages afflicting one’s conscience because of moral scandal resulting from an illicit affair.  But to the extent any damages at all stemming from the fraud perpetrated here exist, that would be it (what possibly else could there be?).  The State cannot prosecute President Trump on economic damages resulting from the State being denied taxable money because of how the law was structured before the 2018 change in the law.  At the time of President Trump’s tax filing, it was perfectly legal to write-off hush money payments for an affair – trying him now, on a theory of damages, based on the changed law encounters serious ex post facto and double jeopardy problems, both of which are obviously unconstitutional.  

Should the State try to contend that moral damages resulted from the cover up, that argument would be even more ridiculous than believing that portions of President Trump’s voting base would not have supported him but for revelations of the fraud.  The law already permits hush money payments for the type of conduct alleged in this case.  Thus, the law patently does not track moral improprieties arising from extramarital affairs.

But let us assume, to play devil’s advocate, that the law did indict such misconduct. That would necessarily trigger at least two thorny, and as yet unresolved, legal questions – on what grounds do those alleged improprieties rise to the level of criminality?  (A derivative of that first question is: does our society want to impute criminality – and potentially felonious criminality – upon extramarital sexual acts?) 

The second question raised: what moral system is animating the asserted improprieties on which the criminality imputed in the law is based?  If the moral system is deemed antiquated or no longer relevant in the eyes of public opinion, should not the law be considered illegitimate, and hence no longer operative?

In layman’s terms, it would be quite a riot to see Alvin Bragg condemn as criminal, and indeed a felony, extramarital conduct under the law.  If so, Bragg would be acting with all the moral fervor of a pope during the Middle Ages!

Such self-righteous behavior is made even more laughable when placed against what is now happening to Bragg’s good buddies in Georgia, with Fani Willis and Nathan Wade, who were sleeping with one another, raising a massive and disqualifying conflict of interest, all the while their own prosecution against President Trump was taking place!

If what President Trump did regarding an alleged hush money payment is criminal conduct, under Bragg’s revanchist and morally hard-charged legal theory, then both Willis and her special counsel, Nathan Wade – and indeed, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, by extension – should all be similarly prosecuted under Bragg’s construction for their own, far graver, moral transgressions and many sexual improprieties committed!

Another salient legal issue that Bragg appears to have just blithely swept under the rug with this case is why, exactly, should President Trump be held vicariously criminally liable for an alleged clerical error committed by his accountant or his attorney, Michael Cohen, or whoever might have been overseeing his tax filings at the time the write-off was made?  If, as President Trump has said, that it was Michael Cohen, not him, who decided to pay off Stormy Daniels, Bragg should be investigating Cohen and forcing him into court, not President Trump.  

Bragg has also failed to establish how the alleged fraud rises to a felony.  The District Attorney claims that President Trump somehow committed a felony – again, despite not having committed a fraud in the first place, for one, and not being the one to file his tax returns, for two – even though the black letter law (again, §175.05) incontrovertibly treats the alleged misconduct here as a misdemeanor, not a felony! 

Under the relevant law, crimes brought under Penal Law 175.05 may arise to a felony if and only if the District Attorney can prove that the alleged misdemeanor occurred to perpetuate or cover up another crime.  Bragg plainly states that another crime was committed concomitantly with the clerical error that he is calling a misdemeanor here.  But what crime, pray tell, he interestingly, incredulously, does not say!

The reason he does not state the crime is that he is relying, ultimately, on the sensationalized aspect of a hush money payment to engender the public perception that adulterous activity, though immoral, constitutes a felony under the law, even though that is patently not the case!  The idea is to exploit and manipulate public opinion, naturally recalcitrant (though perhaps less so nowadays than in years past) to the concept of extramarital affairs — and then conflate those received public biases and strong emotions with tangled legal theories of criminality, distorting the law and sowing both legal and moral confusion in the process.

If it were truly the case that extramarital conduct should be imputed with legal significance, then hush money payments, which necessarily run downstream from such misconduct, would likewise be treated as unlawful.  But hush money payments are permissible under law, and have been permissible for ages. Because hush money payments are lawful, Bragg’s legal theory is dead in the water.

But, for Bragg, et al., it does not matter what the law actually says.  For Bragg, all he has to rely upon is how the public feels about certain allegations – which he is hoping will be enough of a foundation to prosecute the President’s alleged misdemeanor as a felony, and therefore put him behind bars, even though there is absolutely no basis for any of his hogwash theory whatsoever in either fact or law!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news to Mr. Bragg, but public sentiment — good, bad, or indifferent — is rarely ever a barometer for whether the law should treat a particular act as criminal.  Here, public sentiment has no bearing on the legality of any of the facts alleged. The problem for New York’s embattled District Attorney is that he is both logically inconsistent, to an egregious degree, and morally hypocritical in his selective use (ah! one might call, ‘weaponization’) of the law, as a sword, against President Trump.

This ultimately is reason why a critical percentage of the public, including many Independents and Democrats, see Bragg’s prosecution for what it is: an out-and-out persecution against his greatest political adversary.  

There is no rhyme or reason to Bragg’s theory of the case, he is merely operating as a political apparatchik for the Biden Regime where he must get off on roleplaying as a tin-pot dictator to bring down Orange Hitler.

The whole thing is a sham, a farce, a scam, and a political scandal of an order of magnitude never seen before in American history.  The case should be tossed out, and the public should treat Bragg, James, Judge Merchan, and the entire charade backing President Trump’s latest political persecution for the clown show it is – a flagrant abuse of the rule of law. A case that one never, ever should take seriously, because those bad-faith actors currently executing the Regime’s marching orders are every bit as bad and makeshift as the phony legal theories they espouse, certain in no time to be relegated to at most a forgotten footnote in this dark, dreary, dismal chapter of American history.

Paul Ingrassia is a Constitutional Scholar; Communications Director of the NCLU; a two-time Claremont Fellow, and is on the Board of Advisors of the New York Young Republican Club and the Italian American Civil Rights LeagueHe writes a widely read Substack that is regularly posted on Truth Social by President Trump. Follow him on X @PaulIngrassiaSubstackTruth SocialInstagram, and Rumble.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AMAC or AMAC Action.

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David Millikan
David Millikan
1 month ago

Excellent article. Everyone knows it’s a Scam and Election Interference. When is the FAKE news going to tell the world that the Judges and Prosecutors going after President Trump are committing Fraud with False Indictments and committing Election Interference are ALL democrats ordered by Dictator Beijing biden against his Number One political opponent?
President Trump did nothing wrong and they know it. The one that should be standing trial is Dictator Beijing biden for corruption, Stealing Sensitive Highly Classified Documents, Espionage and Treason.
I am DEFINITELY Voting for President Trump.

Doug Craig
Doug Craig
25 days ago

It seems impossible that not everyone realizes the judicial system has completely been infected by Trump derangement syndrome.

Michael Venaccio
Michael Venaccio
1 month ago

Thank you for the very good analysis and explaination. It does answer a lot of questions.
Hopefully you can apply your logic to the other cases against Mr. Trump and show why they are bogus also, especially the Georgia one. Would love to read those summaries.

John
John
25 days ago

This is a total case of Election Interference by BIDEN. and his Marxist buddy OBAMA MARXIST!

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 month ago

And the intent to defraud Could there be a fraud grater than this presidency?

Harry
Harry
25 days ago

Top that off!! Wray/FBI said on TV this AM “we do not investigate /get into protest”. Lying mthr. Fkr!! How about J6 which you planned, organized and participated in?? How about, catholics in church? How about people standing up for their kids Rights in School Board
Meetings? Lying B’stard!!

Buzz
Buzz
24 days ago

Paul— many thanks for the thorough analysis. Note that the indictment doesn’t allege tax fraud, nor election fraud, nor fraud on creditors, nor conspiracy. it is the same kind of spurious empty victimless fraud charged in the Tish James case.
Why did the judge allow the DA to introduce the transcript of the highly prejudicial Access Hollywood clip, since this case does not involve non-consensual sex? This case seems to have as its main purpose being to humiliate Trump— and it is judicial malpractice for Merchan to let Colangelo dirty up Trump as much as he wants for no probative purpose.
Shouldn’t Trump be granted summary judgment at the end of the DA’s case in chief, since under no set of facts can there be a holding for the DA under their indictment?
Finally, what about the unconstitutional gag order? Shouldn’t Merchan be severely disciplined for preventing Trump from defending himself and calling out the judge’s deep conflicts of interest, as well as preventing Trump from complaining about being confined to a courtroom in the middle of his campaign?
If you haven’t already, I would love to get your comments on the E Jean Carroll joke of a case where she can’t prove even a reasonable approximation of when the encounter occurred and of the Tish James case, where there is no one complaining they were deceived by Trump’s financial statements, which are basically just speculative guesstimates of what his properties might sell for on any given day. Real estate values are only known upon a sale closing, and Trump can’t be punished simply for his opinions on value, which, in accordance with industry practice, are accompanied by warning to others to do their own due diligence.

David Millikan
David Millikan
29 days ago

Meanwhile, Bragg lets Murderers, Rapist, and Illegal Alien Terrorist run free as Crime is out of Control in NY. The Judges there let them out left and right since they have their ‘No Bail’ liberal policies and they go right back out a few hours later and commit the same crimes over and over because they know they won’t be prosecuted.
This SCAM trial is Pure Election Interference by democrats and their WITCH HUNT SCAMS.
The government looked at all of this before the WITCH HUNT SCAMS and said, “THERE IS NOTHING THERE”. FACT.

Paul
Paul
29 days ago

Excellent article. Should be “Required Reading” for the DA, judges, and their sycophants! Given these facts, why is this fiasco being allowed to go forward?!

Donna E Peck
Donna E Peck
25 days ago

Great article. Must read.

Robert Schultz
Robert Schultz
28 days ago

We need anti-lawfare laws in the USA like the UK has. If someone starts a frivolous lawsuit or harassment legal action against someone they should pay court costs if the jury or judge deems it frivolous or harassment. This will put an end to lawfare.

Wanda Maier
Wanda Maier
29 days ago

Excellent article. please share far and wide. Explains in great detail what this shame persecution in New York of our true President is really about.

Michael J
Michael J
29 days ago

So far, the accusers seemed to be the ones with something to hide.

joe cool
joe cool
29 days ago

Corruption runs deep when it is allowed to fester for decades! Rebuplicans have been too busy with work, after school programs they can buy for their kids to try to win scholarships, spending time on the Internet, yada, yada! In the meantime, Prograssives have been digging quietly at the foundation of our free world, and we have allowed corruption to take root! God help us all!

Rich
Rich
1 month ago

I guess I didn’t realize that lady justice was a politician and was actually blind folded to the truth. I’ve had it wrong all these years. It’s also interesting that lady justice originates from the personification of justice in ancient Roman art known as lustitia. Kind of similar to Letitia. Hmmm. Interesting. You just can’t make this stuff up.

MariaRose
MariaRose
24 days ago

If anyone has any doubts about this trial procedure scam, read the transcripts posted daily. Last I checked and read through the People ( prosecutor) is trying to make a misdemeanor into a felony by inferring intent even when not physically or verbally involved in any of the actions. You have to read the transcripts to see the molehill they are trying to create into a mountain of “proof” via the court of social media. Yet the same offense, made by any of their Democratic candidates is to be acceptable. (think Clinton as one example)

anna hubert
anna hubert
24 days ago

There is no law and order or justice Mob rules

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
24 days ago

Trial Hush money More:
Courtroom kept Cold?
Judge daughter funding case
Never Trumpers use Zoom for media meetings
Probe Juror employers
One way system
NO Avg citizen on Jury

Don
Don
25 days ago

Wow he should probably go to NY to help Ole Todd out as lawyer because after the pe cker testified it answered all your questions.

Bruce
Bruce
23 days ago

Even though everyong knows this is a kangaroo court, it doesn’t matter. “Everyone” doesn’t have a say here, only 12 handpicked Trump haters and 1 crooked judge… Easy peeesy.

Donald
Donald
23 days ago

These communist/demorats go out of their way to vilify President Trump and yet their charges against him are nothing more than a total sham. They should all be taken out of their positions and be spanked for their childish ways. I don’t think any of them are so much as qualified to scrub floors or toilets, yet they want to act like they are the almighty.

Granny26
Granny26
23 days ago

We’ve known from the beginning all these so called ‘crimes’ are just a way of trying to get Trump off the ballet because everyone knows he will win…..again. We also all know he won last time, not butthead Biden but the demonrats are very good and manipulation.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
24 days ago

The only one I ever heard named “Alvin” had two chipmunk brothers…

Richard Cummings
Richard Cummings
24 days ago

Why wouldn’t the Ds use lawfare against Trump. It has worked several times in the past against Rs. Case in point – Sarah Palin.

Jeff Savlov
Jeff Savlov
23 days ago

Well written and well put. This shows why those responsible for prosecution and administering the law whether local, state or federal should be required to meet standards of conduct, be unbiased and should be appointed not elected to their office. The actions described in this clown show and that of the DOJ show definite bias against anything or anyone who doesn’t bleed BLUE. As in all political appointments, The pendulum swings in the direction of the current administration. The difference is more visible when a Republican leader makes choices, while Democrats show their biases on their sleeves.

Bob Chase
Bob Chase
23 days ago

Unfortunately our legal system requires the sham to play out and then an appeal can start. By that time the election will be over!

Michael J Koskovich
Michael J Koskovich
22 days ago

We saw this in Alaska a few years ago when then Senator Ted Stevens, was wrongfully railroaded out of office with false accusations. This all orchestrated by Obama who needed Ted Stevens out of office and Mark Begich in his place to insure enough votes in the Senate to pass “Obamacare”. Ted Stevens was eventually rightfully exonerated but the damage was done. We witness now with President Trump yet another politically motivated perversion of the rule of law. Fortunately this blatant travesty of justice is becoming crystal clear to a large segment of the voting public.

Fred
Fred
24 days ago

I thought he was already tried on this

Noname
Noname
24 days ago

I’m not sure how to interpret Mr. Ingrassia’s remark about a middle ages pope. Even these days, Popes speak out against all sexual acts outside of marriage as sinful. Otherwise his article is well constructed and truthful.

A Voter
A Voter
24 days ago

“A Total Scam With No Basis In Law, Fact, Or Reality”, of course it is but that is not the point of it. As Orwell said in 1984, “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power”, to this end, the democrat party will use any means necessary to accomplish it’s only goal. They don’t care if you know it is all lies, so long as you remain silent and accept it..

Theresa Coughlin
Theresa Coughlin
24 days ago

does anyone seriously think that Trump would be going through all this if he weren’t running for president? They had plenty of time before he announced his presidential run to investigate this case and bring it to trial. The fact that they waited until after he ran for president in 2026, 2020 and 2024 smacks of political motivation and election interference.

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