Turley Skewers the Trump Case, Lays out How It 'Could Collapse'

After the indictment against President Donald Trump was unsealed on Tuesday, I wrote about some of the significant problems in it. My colleague Jennifer Van Laar wrote about how legal experts on both sides of the aisle were scoffing at the indictment.


But one of the big questions, as I noted, was the Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg never laid out specifically what the underlying crime that the charges were built on. One might presume what it could be based on the rambling and confused statement of facts — an alleged federal election crime– but he never actually says. Bragg was sort of playing this “Hide the Underlying Crime” game, likely because he knows that if it’s a federal election crime, that raises other questions — like that doesn’t belong in a state court. When Bragg was asked about it at his press conference he said that he wasn’t required to have to say it in the indictment, but then he pontificated about NYS and federal election law. But he didn’t put any of that in the indictment.

Where was the underlying crime?

“It’s like the Orient Express without the body,” George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley said. He said he knew judges who would have been “not too pleased to have received an indictment like this and would have said “What the heck is this? What are you alleging?” As Turley noted, Bragg will have to ante up in his bill of particulars which will have to lay out the claims of the case. But Turley asked the question given the muddle in the indictment, how much did the grand jury truly understand of what was being alleged here?


“This has the feeling of a legal Slurpee,” he said. There’s “no nutritional value” and “there’s really nothing there.”

“He’s hoping that this judge is going to be very timid and not throw this out,” Turley said about Bragg. “But there are substantial threshold legal questions here and this case could collapse before it gets to a trial…There’s no there there. You would think if you were going to indict a president, you, you would rise to that moment of history and tell people with precision what it is that you want to convict him of.”

They finish talking about the ironic fact that Trump was awarded attorneys’ fees of $121,972.56 on the same day, as my colleague Ben Kew reported.

Turley also followed up, writing it should be thrown out and would not have been pursued, but that it was Trump.

If the New York bench retains any integrity, this case will be thrown out as legally improper with an admonition to Bragg and his office for politicizing the criminal justice process. That, however, may be asking a lot of state judges who are elected on both the trial and appellate levels. [….]

What is most shocking is that this attack on the rule of law was met with the rapturous applause of many, including lawyers and legal pundits. They not only will ignore the affront to the integrity of our legal system, but celebrate its demise. […]

This expensive, drawn-out effort would not have occurred for anyone other than Donald Trump. It is not just selective prosecution, it is exclusive prosecution for Trump and Trump alone.


Repeating the same thing 34 times doesn’t make the case any less of a turkey, it doesn’t imbue it with greater weight. If Bragg can’t even explain it and lay it out now, after all this time, you know that there’s a big problem and he likely knows the Trump attorneys are going to rip it apart. There are all kinds of legal questions from the statute of limitations issues to the fact that if it is a federal election crime, you can’t be pursuing that in a state court.

If it wasn’t already evident that there was a problem with the political targeting, the leak of what was in the indictment beforehand, reveals what a problem we have here. As I wrote, that could be a potential felony and it screams of the bias, as well as a possible effort to taint the jury pool. It could also possibly help the Trump team’s cause for a change of venue.

But there’s something that Trump says that is quite true here. If it can be done to him, it can be done to you. It can be done to any future president. It can be done to anybody. Once you start down the banana republic road, it’s very hard to push it back, and it feels like we’re already several steps down that road. But we must if we are to protect that rule of law that we all hold dear.



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