Some Democrats fear that the potential charges facing former President Trump from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office are not up to the task and could backfire.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg may soon indict former President Trump on charges relating to hush payments he made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Some Democrats say Bragg’s move, if it happens, may ultimately benefit Trump due to the weakness of the charge.
“This is an open-and-shut, books-and-records misdemeanor,” Norm Eisen, attorney and senior Brookings fellow, said Monday. “Now, to elevate it to a felony is more complicated.”
“[T]here are far more serious crimes for which he should also be held to account,” David Pepper, a former chair of the Ohio Democratic Party, told Axios.
Bragg’s investigation is just one of three Trump is currently facing, and the charges stemming from it may be the easiest ones for Trump to defeat. A failed prosecution of the former president – whose opponents have long dreamed of locking him up – could only serve to bolster his common refrain that he is the victim of a “witch hunt.”
Trump would be the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges if Bragg’s office levels them. The potential indictment is expected to allege campaign finance infractions relating to records keeping, a slim pretext for such a high-profile case.
Nevertheless, law enforcement leaders met in New York City on Monday to discuss what might happen if Bragg’s office hands down an indictment. The NYPD hosted the meeting, and attendees included Michael Magliano, chief of the Department of Public Safety, which oversees New York court officers; the head of the Secret Service of the New York office, and a representative from Bragg’s office.
Authorities fear the danger of arresting Trump and moving him, given the volume of his support and his calls for supporters to “take our country back” in the event of his arrest.
Experts say the most likely scenario is that the Secret Service and NYPD would arrange for Trump to surrender himself to authorities if the indictment comes.
Other investigations into Trump may result in more severe charges than his relationship with Daniels. Special Counsel Jack Smith is investigating Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, and Georgia prosecutors are investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election in their state.