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President Trump Should Appeal Hush Money Case To Supreme Court By A Writ Of Habeas Corpus, A Rarely Used Judicial Remedy That Can Potentially Fast-Track The Reversal Of Merchan’s Horrible Decision

Posted on Friday, June 21, 2024
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by Paul Ingrassia
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Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

President Trump’s sentencing is scheduled for July 11th, less than a month away.  Of course, it is no secret why Judge Merchan decided on this particular date: it takes place four days before the Republican National Convention is set to begin, on July 15th

The hope of Team Biden, naturally, is that Judge Merchan – in collusion with District Attorney Bragg and Joe Biden’s Justice Department – will sentence President Trump, either by putting him behind bars or at the very least, on house arrest – thus denying him the opportunity to appear at the RNC in-person.

Historically, political conventions have given candidates of both parties a boost in their overall ratings.  This year that expectation still remains true.  But in a year where the incumbent has historically low approval ratings, and where most reputable polls have Biden losing to Trump in all key six battleground states, obviously, Team Biden is now willing to do anything to prevent giving their opponent, President Trump, an additional ratings boost.

What is more, President Trump is careening down what looks to be an unstoppable trajectory, in part fueled by the political support he has garnered in recent weeks from the news of his unprecedented conviction.  Millions of Americans, of all partisan stripes, rightly feel outraged by the bald-faced political prosecution of the leading candidate to become the 47th President – which has never been done in America, once the world’s beacon of freedom, before.  

This sense of a weaponized, two-tier justice system has only been further emboldened with the political prosecutions of Steve Bannon, Peter Navarro, Dan Scavino, Rudy Giuliani, Christina Bobb, Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, and countless other loyalists of the 45th President (to say nothing of the overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrators who appeared at the Capitol on January 6th), many of whom have been severe casualties of Leftist lawfare against them and the movement, which is sanctioned by Joe Biden and his apparatchiks in the Justice Department and various state agencies across the country, now with shameless abandon.

By attempting to take President Trump, Steve Bannon, and others out of the picture – the objective is to thwart their message of America First early enough in its tracks.  Bannon is a perfect example: his popular show, War Room, is watched by tens of millions of viewers each month – a figure that should only increase even more as we move closer to November.  His influence and voice can impact voting behaviors, and so the need to clamp down on him now becomes especially critical for a deeply fractured Left, who sees its message of managed decline failing to resonate, and its messenger, the geriatric Biden, doddering his way to the finish line.

The flagrantly unconstitutional gag order Judge Merchan imposed on President Trump is another example of how rogue Leftists are weaponizing the justice system, bucking every convention in the books, to give them an unfair advantage in a critical election year, by quashing freedom of speech.  The idea that Merchan would so brazenly trample over President Trump’s free speech rights is a telltale that he would also be willing to resort to other unprecedented – and downright unlawful – methods to attempt to sabotage President Trump in his tracks.

This is something that should distress every single American.  However one might feel personally about President Trump, the damage a power-hungry and vindictive judge can do to the rule of law is unquantifiable – and should not be taken for granted.  Indeed, already, Judge Merchan – in having allowed this baseless case to be brought in his courtroom in the first place – has already done tremendous (and potentially irreparable) damage to the integrity of New York’s criminal justice system, which in turn sets an ominous precedent – one that gives the green light to prosecuting anyone on the basis of their political views – for the rest of the justice system.

We observed Merchan run roughshod over the rules of evidence; he admitted hearsay and prejudicial evidence of purported prior bad acts committed by President Trump for no other reason than to smear his reputation in the eyes of jurors.  He prevented testimony from election experts, such as Bradley A. Smith, former FEC Commissioner, even though his court had absolutely no knowledge of – and arguably no jurisdiction over – prosecuting federal election law, or FECA, cases.  He allowed Stormy Daniels to spread salacious gossip that served no purpose other than to besmirch President Trump’s image, with no bearing whatsoever over the underlying charge. 

At the same time, Judge Merchan admonished President Trump’s only witness and veteran of the New York State criminal court system, Robert Costello, from the stand – lashing out at him in an unhinged tantrum because Costello was not a Merchan sycophant.  The disrespect shown against Costello, as well as President Trump’s entire legal team, in particular Todd Blanche, was completely out of line for any judge, let alone a judge tasked with presiding over a case implicating the man most likely to be the next leader of the free world. 

Finally, the jury verdict was plainly riven with reversible errors: no jury verdict, but especially on a felony charge, is allowed to mix-and-match a smorgasbord of crimes (which is exactly what occurred here), to tamper with the evidentiary threshold needed to arrive at a guilty verdict.  The Supreme Court has been crystal clear, in its decision Ramos v. Louisiana (2020), that non-unanimous jury verdicts violate the Sixth Amendment (while also raising a slew of attendant due process concerns), and are therefore unconstitutional.

In the Ramos case, Justice Gorsuch remarked: “So if the Sixth Amendment’s right to a jury trial requires a unanimous verdict to support a conviction in federal court, it requires no less in state court.”  What Merchan permitted in his courtroom: a sampling of at least three crimes – all of which were only vaguely defined and, with some controversy, felonious – and let the jury pick-and-choose amongst themselves which of the three they individually felt met the burden of proof, is plainly a violation of well-settled law. 

The jury instructions, which have been hidden under a cloak of anonymity, to protect the court from further scrutiny – can serve as adequate grounds for an emergency appeal.  There are many advantages to President Trump’s attorneys filing, what is called “a writ of habeas corpus,” a rarely used judicial remedy that was recently proposed by John Eastman in Newsweek, to appeal directly to the Supreme Court before the July 11th sentencing. 

The first advantage is that by fast-tracking this appeal directly to the Supreme Court, President Trump is likely to receive the kind of relief he seeks without the additional delays of appealing via traditional procedures through New York’s appellate system.  A direct appeal to the Supreme Court can lead to it being overturned in one fell swoop based on the countless reversible errors all over this decision.  Moreover, the Supreme Court is a much more politically amiable venue for President Trump, with a 6-3 conservative majority, who will no longer be at the mercy of a Democratic-appointed judge and district attorney, marching out the vindictive orders of a malicious president.   Since this is a case that is fundamentally about politics, it is best to cut to the chase and get to a more politically favorable courtroom as quickly as possible.

Another advantage in a direct appeal via a writ of habeas corpus is that it would take the wind out of the sails of Judge Merchan, who has clear animus towards the defendant, enough that should normally serve as a basis for a recusal.  By appealing the traditional way through the appellate division, Judge Merchan still would have a lot of discretion in managing the details of President Trump’s sentencing; in particular, there may be a risk of Judge Merchan imprisoning President Trump while the appeal is pending.

 As has been the case with many J6 defendants, judges have seen fit to make up rules as they go.  In the case of J6 defendant Ryan Nichols, who was recently sentenced, his judge forced him to be detained in the three or so months prior to sentencing, even though that measure is as clear a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights as one can get.  As such, there is a real possibility that Judge Merchan might want to impose something like a house arrest order on President Trump, even while the appeal is ongoing, which the Judge might say is within his discretion under New York law.

Which leads to the third advantage of sidestepping all the state appeals nonsense and expediting this case to the Supreme Court directly: President Trump is not much more likely to get a fair hearing in any of the appellate courts in New York than he did in Judge Merchan’s courtroom.  These judge panels are for the most part cut from the same cloth: liberal Democrats with a personal vendetta against Donald Trump.  They are all pretty much in lockstep with Letitia James, New York’s rogue Attorney General, who memorably campaigned for her office on “getting” Donald Trump.

In short, as currently structured, the New York State criminal court system is basically like an election interference boobytrap to catch Joe Biden and Merrick Garland’s political enemies.  Rather than waste time appealing over and over again only to eventually wind up in federal court anyway, President Trump’s attorneys would be well-advised by petitioning the Supreme Court directly, through a writ of habeas corpus or some other emergency motion. 

While rare, the timing for such an extraordinary measure could not be better. President Trump is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, now less than a month away from the RNC, in what is already unfolding to be one of the most consequential and historic presidential races in modern history.  He is being prosecuted – persecuted – by a Justice Department acting extra-constitutionally and unlawfully, which is an unprecedented move and threatens bedrock principles America has always stood for – including the integrity of the justice system and the expectation of free and uncorrupted elections. All those things are now in jeopardy.

If there was ever a concern for election interference, this would be it.  It is foreseeable how, if President Trump were sentenced to prison, Democrats in Congress might change the laws to strip President Trump of secret service protection or jerry-rig a last-minute law that prohibits “convicted felons” from being their party’s nominee. 

On the other side of the coin, establishment RINOs who still harbor deep-seated resentment towards President Trump may try an eleventh-hour subversion of the RNC.  Responding to their Democratic friends’ calls to outlaw “convicted felons” from being party nominees, they may attempt a bait-and-switch of sorts to swap out President Trump for Nikki Haley, or somebody of that ilk, at the last minute, denying the American people their right to choose their candidate. It is no secret that many Republican politicians, still to this day with the nomination basically locked up, are vying for an opportunity to derail President Trump’s candidacy for good.  While unlikely, any kind of sentence that would prevent President Trump from appearing at the RNC in-person will give these nefarious types needless fodder for subversion. 

Thus, it is best for the Supreme Court to intervene now, while there is still time, and do as much damage control as possible.  Obviously, tossing out the case in toto would be the best-case scenario.  But at the bare minimum, in consideration of the limited time we have until July 11th, a stay on the sentencing until after the election, or a procedural ruling of the kind that would stall any and all lawfare until after Election Day – as to mitigate the prospects of (at least this kind of) election interference – would be a nice consolation.

The bottom line is neither President Trump nor the country, deserves this during an all too important election season.  It would wreak untold havoc upon our democratic institutions if President Trump were sentenced, in any capacity, but especially in light of how egregiously flawed Judge Merchan’s kangaroo courthouse was all throughout this charade of a trial. A writ of habeas corpus, as an emergency judicial remedy, is one that President Trump’s lawyers should thus seriously consider, and one that could potentially save the President, and the rest of the country, from a needlessly lengthy appeals process. One that risks empowering all the bad actors – from Merchan to Bragg to James to Biden – who make no secret about their TDS biases and prejudices, and desire to keep President Trump out of the White House, over and above the sacred will of the American people.

A slightly modified version of this piece was originally published in The Gateway Pundit, and can be found here.

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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Max
Max
22 days ago

It is definitely precarious for Pres. Trump with all the various scenarios that the Democrats and RINOS can use to try and prevent him for running for the office of President. Again, everyone knows the sham that has been cast upon Pres. Trump and hopefully the Higher Court will be brought into the situation and rectify the problem. Still, there will be a massive cleaning of the Justice system and other organizations that have weaponized by the Adversary.

Theresa Coughlin
Theresa Coughlin
22 days ago

If democrats can’t win without cheating (which is EXACTLY what happened here) That should tell them something about their agenda. If they don’t get the hint, allow me to spell it out for them: DEMOCRATS, YOUR AGENDA STINKS! Also, someone should tell the RINOS that the democrats are NOT their friends. The only thing democrats care about is power and if they have to screw over republicans to get it, so be it.

Myrna
Myrna
22 days ago

I pray for wisdom for President Trump’s lawyers.

Cher
Cher
22 days ago

This was good, but for all that, you never explained to your readers what a ‘Writ of Habeas Corpus’ IS or DOES, or WHY it applies HERE! You just went around all those questions people have! And all that you TOLD us is all the stuff we ALREADY KNOW for the most part, but done in a pleasing format. But IT DIDN’T FIT WITH YOUR TITLE!!! ‘…Trump should appeal the…case to the Supreme Court…by a Writ of Habeas Corpus.’ WHAT IS THAT??!!! HOW do THEY WORK??!!! WHY does it apply HERE??!!! You didn’t answer ANY of that for US – we’re not Constitutional Lawyers. We just work our butts off every day trying to keep up with Inflation and Biden’s Treasonous acts and his Criminality! Help us out here – all we GOT from that is that ‘IF they file it, he could by-pass the normal City/State appeals processes. OK. Good. Tell me more… but you didn’t… I’ve heard of it before, but I don’t know what it is, or how it would APPLY to Trump’s case. Help us out!

uncleferd
uncleferd
22 days ago

The wrongfulness and resultant damage to our legal precedents that the “Democrats” have carried out is such that those who have been complicit must be removed from government, and undergo criminal investigation immediately.
Our nation is not their doormat.

Robert
Robert
22 days ago

Please anyone with access to Trump and or his lawyers send this article to them! If the Repubs drop Trump they can rest assured we will drop them!

Susan
Susan
22 days ago

Did President Trump and his lawyers read all this? It’s great stuff to know, but they are the ones who need to act. Hopefully Mr. Ingrassia’s message reached Truth Social and the eyes of both the President and his legal team.

Ralph
Ralph
22 days ago

ANYONE who tries to subvert our Constitution is a TRAITOR and should be dealt with accordingly. This goes equally for DemonRATS, Rino’s, Socialists, Communists, Neo-Nazis, Media morons, TicTok subscribers, Presidential Press Secretaries, and ALL DEI hires.

Felix
Felix
22 days ago

If those six constitutional Justices truly love the Constitution, the United States, the Rule of Law, and see how the democrat socialist are hell bent on destroying our Republic, they should without hesitation intervene now before it is too late. They, and no one else, have power to expose this totalitarian abuse and judicial misuse of the justice in our country! I just hope and pray they realize how important it is for them, to do what is right, because, if not, I truly believe that if Trump is imprisoned all bets are off!

Still waiing
Still waiing
22 days ago

So why are all of these constitutional attorneys sitting on their hands. I have heard multiple theories about why the Supreme Court could be or should be dealing with this charade. When is someone going to have the cajonies(sp?) to take action?

Raoul Edmond Doucette
Raoul Edmond Doucette
22 days ago

As the infamous Vladimir Lenin once said, “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime”. Alvin Bragg and Merrick Garland are right up there in infamy.

Barbara
Barbara
21 days ago

I wish New York would simply slip off into the ocean! Between California and New York I can’t figure out which one is worse! Everybody needs to remember you reap what you sow! What you are doing WILL cone back and bite you in the ass! I can hardly wait to watch it happen and just laugh and laugh and laugh. All these precedents you are setting can and will eventually be used against you!

granky
granky
22 days ago

In Texas, a prison sentence of more than 15 years eliminates the possibility of an appeal bond, less than 15 years the defendant can remain free on bond until the appeal is heard. Does New York have a similar provision? If Trump is sentenced to prison can he post an appeal bond?

Tom
Tom
20 days ago

I have no faith in Trump legal team. They should have known from the start that the hate for Trumps drain the swamp exceeds fairness.

Trump must attack, attack, attack find the dirt on them publish it non stop.

Your next!!!

Leslie
Leslie
20 days ago

OMG please file the writ. This madness has got to stop and show those democrats that political lawfare will not work. I know too many democrats that believe true justice has been served by thus conviction but they don’t see all the crazy rulings that were made.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
22 days ago

Tell Fatazz Bragg to go f-himself… and his little Soros-bought judge too!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
22 days ago

DO SO SOON

Secret Service agents rush Donald Trump off the stage.(AP: Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden greets President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at the Filoli Estate in Woodside, California.(Official White House Photo by Carlos Fyfe)
President Joe Biden speaks on the phone with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to discuss his approval of a FEMA disaster declaration in response to the impacts of Hurricane Beryl, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

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