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William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection joined Tony Katz Today to discuss the unprecedented trial and guilty verdicts against a former President and leading frontrunner to become the nation’s next president.

Tony Katz asks what is rotten about the verdict?

William Jacobson:

Well, it’s not just the verdict. You have to go back in time. What’s rotten about the prosecution? The prosecution was a political prosecution. It was motivated by politics. It had sat idle for years and years. The time had run out on it. Alvin Bragg, and I think there’s video of this. So that he would be the one to get Trump when he was running for District Attorney. And they then relaunched the investigation to get Trump after he declared that he was going to run for president again. And they managed to turn stale out of time misdemeanors into felonies to salvage the statute of limitations based on a novel legal theory, which is that Donald Trump interfered in his own election. And that that was an illegal purpose, which under the New York law can convert a misdemeanor books and records into a felony. But of course, the whole theory stemmed from politics. Nobody else had prosecuted it for several years. Nobody was going to prosecute it. It was done political reasons. So, this case was rotten from the get go. Forget the verdict, forget what happened in the trial. This was done for politics. Just like Letitia James, the Attorney general of New York ran for office and there’s plenty of video of her saying this. “I am going to get not only Donald Trump, but I’m going to get his family also.” Think how chilling that is. An attorney general running for office that they’re going to get someone’s family as well.

Tony Katz then asks we thought that the justice system was set up in such a way as to prevent this kind of nonsense, this type of sham, this type of show trial, Stalinist kind of thing. How did the system fail to stop this from going forward?


The system had failed to stop it from going forward because there’s really no check or balance from it going forward now, once now that it’s been completed, there will be multiple levels of appeal in this. I think likely will be reversed. So ultimately the system will prevail, but only after he’s been put through a trial and only after the 2024 election cycle has been damaged by this.

Tony wondered if Judge Juan Merchan would actually send the former President to jail during sentencing.


I think there is a significant possibility. And it is my expectation, particularly with Trump regularly bashing the judge like he did in this press conference today, that this judge will impose, at a minimum, some symbolic prison sentence. It could be a weekend, it could be 4 weekends, could be something like that, which would not be the norm in a case like this, but because. A judge could find that the defendant has not accepted responsibility for his actions and that’s one of the factors to consider in sentencing. It would not shock me if this judge did that.

How will the appeals process work and how will Trump’s team contest the case Tony asks.


Well, I think it’s there were many different aspects and I expect Trump will pursue all of them on appeal. The 1st is whether this is a valid legal theory that you can convert a books and records into a misdemeanor into a felony for interfering in your own federal election. OK, so there’s a whole question about whether an interference in a federal election can even be part of a state charge. OK, so that’s one. So, the whole legal theory behind the prosecution would be contested. Forget what the evidence was, forget what the instructions were, that this was not a valid legal theory and then there’s just a whole host of evidentiary rulings there is the, you know, disallowance of testimony as to federal elections. So, the jury is told, you know, if you find that Trump was doing something unlawful with regard to a federal election, you can find him guilty of this felony. But the judge. Didn’t instruct. I’ve seen the instructions and wouldn’t allow expert testimony on whether this was in fact, interference. In a federal election, is it actually unlawful for a candidate to pay somebody to be quiet? I think the answer is no, it’s not unlawful. And so, there’s a whole host of other things, and then there’s the one that’s gotten a lot of attention. Which is the way the multiple choice non unanimous option was given by the judge in the jury instructions and I’ve read the jury instructions posted them on my website.  (linked below) What in order to convert this misdemeanor into a felony you have to prove that Donald Trump did the books and records violation in order to further. Some other crime, what the judge said or some other unlawful conduct, what the judge said to the jury is here are three you could choose from, federal election violation, state election violation, tax evasion, but you don’t need to agree which one it was. So, you could have had no unanimous consent from the jury that Trump committed any one of these crimes to further, you know, unlawful acts that turn the misdemeanor into a felony. No unanimity that he did any of these. Yet there’s no unanimity he did one of them. I don’t think that’s going to be enough because of this… This is not a case. And I’ve seen a lot of people, you know, arguing this. “Well, you don’t have to agree on every fact in the case.” That’s true. So, somebody holds up a liquor store and shoots the clerk and the jury can’t decide, did he fire three shots or four shots? It doesn’t matter, the firing of the shot and killing the clerk is the crime here. It does matter whether the jury actually agreed that he committed one of these other unlawful acts because that’s the only thing that turns this misdemeanor into a felony. So, I think that is egregious. I think it should be reversed

trump-ny-criminal-trial-jury-instructions-1.pdf (

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