Trump Debuts New Legal Theory: Even If Guilty, ‘There Is No Crime’

Appearing at a New York state courthouse on Thursday, former President Donald Trump made a bizarre assertion about the criminal hush-money case against him.

According to Trump, “virtually every legal scholar says they don’t understand” the charges.

“Even if he was guilty of something, there is no crime,” Trump told reporters, referring to himself.

The comment smacked of entitlement to being above the law, which prosecutors and political opponents have long accused Trump of harboring.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought a 34-count indictment against Trump last year over allegedly falsified business records, including the hush-money payments made to adult film stars Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

Bragg’s legal strategy against Trump has been viewed with some skepticism in part because, in order to secure a felony conviction, instead of just a misdemeanor, Bragg will have to prove that Trump falsified his business records in pursuance of some other crime, and it is not yet clear what that other crime is. But falsifying business records is still a crime in the state of New York.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan decided at the hearing on Thursday to allow the scheduled trial date of March 25 to stand, denying requests from Trump’s lawyers to delay the proceedings.

The charges stem from Trump’s efforts to squash damaging stories about affairs with Daniels and McDougal before the 2016 election. Trump has long denied the affairs.

Merchan’s decision will make the hush-money case the first of four criminal trials against Trump to go ahead.

Two federal criminal indictments center around Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified government information and his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, respectively. Another case, brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, focuses specifically on his attempts to meddle in the presidential election results in Georgia.



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