Politics

Turley Dunks On Judge In Trump Hush Money Case

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


Georgetown University law school professor Jonathan Turley made some critical observations about Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over former President Donald Trump’s hush money case in Manhattan, in particular citing what he believes is a “reversible error.”

Turley claims that Merchan may have made a mistake by allowing prosecutors, under the direction of Michael Colangelo, a former official in the Biden administration who served as acting associate attorney general, to assert that Trump was involved in breaking federal election laws regarding $130,000 in hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

The Federal Election Commission subsequently determined that those payments were not campaign-related, and federal prosecutors in New York found nothing improper when they examined the case around 2018.

“I got to tell you, I think this judge may have already committed a reversible error,” Turley told “Fox and Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt. “He could try to amend it, he could try to change it in his instructions, but that jury has now been told repeatedly that there are federal election crimes here, strongly suggesting that the payment to Stormy Daniels did violate federal election laws. That’s just not true.”

He then turned his attention to former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who has served prison time for lying under oath but who is expected to be one of the prosecution’s star witnesses.

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“Michael Cohen is literally going to tell that jury, ‘Please send my client to jail for following my legal advice,’” Turley said. “All of the stuff that they are talking about, he set up, he structured this and told his client that, ‘we could do this.’”

“It’s a bizarre moment,” Turley added.

Earlier this week, after Merchan decided to declare that Trump had broken a gag order the judge placed on him, the former president removed several posts from his Truth Social account.

Trump has been charged with 34 felony counts by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg related to the payments. Bragg claims Trump falsified business records to hide the payments, even though when he initially took office and examined the case, he decided at that time not to pursue charges, like his predecessor.

Todd Blanche, the attorney for Trump, came under heavy criticism from Merchan during a hearing last week about the gag order. Merchan became agitated and even threatened to “get you fired from the court” at one point. A Thursday hearing will address the additional posts and remarks made by Trump that the prosecution claimed went against the order.

Although most legal experts didn’t think Merchan would jail the former president for this first round of infractions, the judge fined him $9,000 for the first nine infractions. The judge also warned Trump that any future violation of the law would result in imprisonment.

Trump has lamented being required to be in the courtroom each day of his trial because it has largely kept him off the campaign trail. But he’s made the most of his time while being forced to remain in New York, making several appearances around the city that have drawn in supporters.

During a visit to a lower Manhattan construction site before heading into court on Thursday, Trump was well-received by workers and other New Yorkers, later telling a Fox News reporter he would make a play for the state.

“I think we have a good chance of winning here and we’re going to give it a big plan,” he said. “We’re going to the South Bronx to do a rally. We’re going to be doing a rally at Madison Square Garden, we believe.”

Trump said he has rallies planned for Madison Square Garden and in the Bronx, a portion of which is represented in Congress by far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D).

“The last time the Bronx was the center of a Republican presidential campaign was in 1984, when Ronald Reagan won by a landslide,” Breitbart News reported.

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