Alvin Bragg’s Political Prosecution of Trump Sets Dangerous Precedent

A newly-released poll by Monmouth University reveals former President Trump’s guilty verdict in DA Alvin Bragg’s politically motivated prosecution may have little impact on voters, but expert witnesses in a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing say the trial sets a dangerous precedent that could have far-reaching implications for not only our justice system, but for future elections.

After running for DA on a platform focused on targeting Trump, Bragg charged Trump with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, ordinarily a misdemeanor and subject to a two-year statute of limitations which would have expired long ago. While Bragg systematically downgrades most felonies in Manhattan to misdemeanors, he used a novel and untested legal theory to find a workaround of the statute of limitations and upgrade the charges against Trump to felonies. And it should be lost on no one that federal prosecutors declined to pursue a similar case against Trump–which Bragg essentially relied on as a criminal conviction in his theory of the case.

In his committee testimony, Federal Elections Commissioner (FEC) Trey Trainor was critical of the Department of Justice (DOJ) for not defending federal jurisdiction over campaign finance laws. 

From Trainor’s testimony:

The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971, as amended, is the cornerstone of federal campaign finance regulation. It establishes the rules governing campaign finance and delineates the authorities responsible for enforcing these rules. According to FECA, exclusive jurisdiction over the enforcement of federal campaign finance laws is vested in the FEC and the DOJ. This framework ensures a uniform and consistent application of campaign finance laws across the United States, preventing a patchwork of enforcement that could vary from state to state and district to district.

[The statute] …grants the FEC the authority to initiate civil enforcement actions… outlines the procedures for handling alleged violations, including the role of the DOJ in criminal prosecutions. This bifurcation of authority is designed to harness the expertise and resources of federal agencies, thereby maintaining the integrity and consistency of campaign finance law enforcement.

However, the recent actions by District Attorney Alvin Bragg in prosecuting former President Donald Trump represent a significant deviation from this established legal framework. By pursuing charges related to alleged violations of federal campaign finance laws, Mr. Bragg has effectively usurped the jurisdiction that Congress has explicitly reserved for federal authorities. 

Trainor warned Members of Congress that allowing local prosecutors to handle federal campaign finance issues risks politicizing legal processes, deterring qualified candidates, and fragmenting law enforcement. He calls for reaffirming the exclusive authority of the FEC and DOJ to protect the integrity of the electoral system and prevent further politically motivated prosecutions. 

These defects presumably will be remedied by the New York appellate courts or the Supreme Court, if necessary, though such reversal may come too late to prevent the conviction from being employed as a weapon of presidential election interference.

A third witness, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, argued the prosecution of Trump was politically motivated, legally flawed, and corrupt, representing a dangerous form of "lawfare." He asserted the prosecution undermines the rule of law, noting that prosecutors are bound by heightened rules of professional conduct, which forbid politically motivated actions.

Bailey outlined several areas of legal concern:

  • the prosecution's lack of specific charges; 
  • the improper gag order request; 
  • the misapplication of laws; 
  • and the failure to ensure jury unanimity.

Bailey concluded his testimony with a call to action:

The credibility of our criminal justice system has been undermined by a lone prosecutor. As a Nation, we must affirmatively reject [George] Soros-backed prosecutors who refuse to enforce the law and instead weaponize the criminal justice system to achieve a political end. As a Nation, we must eliminate the Vera Institute’s influence over the DOJ and our local prosecutor’s office. 

If we are to restore the credibility of our criminal justice system, we must accomplish these objectives. If we are to protect the rule of law, we must end the lawfare against President Trump. If we are to remain a nation of laws, not men, we must root out this existential threat to the republic, destroy it, and secure the battlefield for freedom and equal protection under the law.

Because Bragg's case against President Trump was beset by due process and procedural irregularities, the verdict could be reversed on appeal, but that could take months, even years, well beyond the November election.