• Nothing To Bragg About

    May 19, 2024
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    (A topical reprint from our sister site, The Connecticut Centinal --Ed.)

    Alvin Bragg

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    Michael Cohen, a former Trump “fixer,” is at the center of the only Trump trial likely to bear fruit before the upcoming 2024 presidential election. The other cases against Trump have been, not unexpectedly, delayed until the election has been concluded.

    Polls, the sour state of the U.S. economy, a suppurating southern border admitting into the United States millions of illegal aliens, and foreign policy blunders by the Biden administration, all suggest that former President Donald Trump may prevail in the election, grievously disappointing Democrats, some of whom have warned the architects of the Biden campaign that it is not always catastrophic to change a horse in the middle of the political stream -- if the horse cannot bear the weight of a presidential election.

    New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought the case against Trump after federal prosecutors refused to issue an indictment. Some legal analysts insist that Bragg had no authority under the U.S. Constitution to bring the case in New York.

    Bragg’s case against Trump rests on a very slender and fragile reed. The charge Bragg has brought against Trump – suitably fogged by personal political ambition, according to Bragg’s critics -- is that the former President and likely Republican presidential nominee in 2024 falsified tax records in an attempt to bury stories concerning his assumed infidelities with porn star Stormy Daniels so that the disclosures she had detailed in court would not be used by Democrats to blow up Trump’s successful presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton.

    As usual, the veracity of the charge rests in the details. Especially in court proceedings, the devil, the Father of Lies, lies in the details. If Bragg cannot prove to the jury that Trump (emphasis mine) had falsified his tax records to save his 2016 campaign (emphasis mine), Bragg’s case falls to the ground.

    The New York jury overseeing the case has not been assembled to examine Trump’s moral infirmities, and the salacious details provided by the porn star, however entertaining, are important only to establish that Trump falsified his tax returns because he feared that, had they been publicized, he would have lost the presidential election to the sainted former New York Senator and Secretary of State in the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton.

    The charge that Trump knowingly falsified his tax records rests on a reputed phone call Cohen made to a Trump associate in the course of which Trump allegedly instructed Cohen to falsify his tax records by listing a payment to Daniels as a payment to Cohen for attorney expenses. This deception, Cohen further alleges, was deployed to save Trump’s campaign against Clinton, once First Lady to husband Bill Clinton – who lied to the American public, courts and his wife concerning his sexual infidelities with a White House aide. A semen-stained blue dress proved to be Bill Clinton’s undoing.

    Cohen’s testimony before the New York jury, over-optimistic pro-Biden progressives in the Democrat Party had hoped, might possibly be the equivalent of President Clinton’s stained blue dress.

    But there were multiple problems with the credibility of the prosecution’s star witness.

    Cohen, convicted of tax fraud himself, was easily impeached. He admitted to lying previously under oath, for which he received a prison and home-confinement term. “Cohen was sentenced to prison in December 2018 after pleading guilty to campaign finance charges and lying to Congress, the LA Times reported, “among other crimes. In all, he spent about 13 1/2 months behind prison walls and a year and a half in home confinement. His time was further reduced through good behavior.”

    At the expiration of his sentence, Cohen declared, “I will continue to provide information, testimony, documents and my full cooperation on all ongoing investigations to ensure that others are held responsible for their dirty deeds and that no one is ever believed to be above the law.”

    Hope Hicks, a creditable Trump confidant grilled by prosecutors, testified that Cohen was known as a Trump “fixer” only because he occasionally fixed the problems he had caused.

    On the next to the last day of the defense attorney cross examination, the implausibly fanciful Cohen phone call to Trump, intended to establish that Trump had falsified his tax records to save his 2016 campaign, went up in smoke.

    Through a careful examination of phone records and emails, the defense was able to show 1) the phone call was with Trump's bodyguard Keith Schiller, not Trump; 2) the subject of the call was not to secure Trump’s complicity in falsifying tax records, but rather a complaint by Cohen that a 14 year old commentator on an internet site had falsely vilified Cohen; and 3) Cohen’s further assertion that his conversation with Trump also touched upon Trump’s direction to Cohen to falsify a legitimate tax expense as a legal expense was, as defense attorney Todd Blanche put it, “a lie,” and a bald-faced one at that. There was no time in a 96 second phone call, the defense insisted, for Cohen to conspire with Trump to deceitfully transform a taxable expense into an attorney’s fee.

    Under cross examination, Cohen acknowledged that at no time in past depositions or statements did Cohen ever say the Oct. 24 call was about Daniels. Cohen only made the claim after he rehearsed his testimony with Bragg's team in the lead-up to his appearance on the stand, Blanche observed.

    "Yes, that refreshed my memory," Cohen said.

    The amount paid to Daniels by Cohen was $130,000, and the amount collected by Cohen in attorney fees was $450,000, according to a May 8 Washington Examiner piece. The man’s greed and hunger for notoriety knows no bounds. A politically uncorrupted jury may conclude that Cohen will not be able this time to “fix” a problem he, in collusion with prosecutors from Bragg’s office, have caused. If not, a conspiracy to deny Trump – neither above nor below the law – an honest day in court may be undone by some future uncorrupted appeals court.

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