Want To Prosecute Trump? It Will Require Proof Not Politics For A Viable Case

Below is my column in USA Today on the calls for criminal charges against former president Donald Trump and what is still missing from viable prosecutions.  In the meantime, civil lawsuits have been filed including one by Rep. Bennie Thompson alleging that Trump and others incited the riot on January 6th. Those civil lawsuits have the advantage a lower standard of proof than criminal prosecutions. If some cases can be sustained past motions to dismiss, they would also allow for discovery though those fights could draw out the litigation. However, Democrats may also be laying the foundation for Trump to claim vindication in defeating such cases in courts. Despite the assurance of the same legal experts of a strong case for prosecution, made-for-television cases do poorly in actual courts of law. What makes for good politics does not always make for good cases. However, bad cases can make for some really bad politics.

Here is the column:

With the acquittal of former President Donald Trump in the Senate, many are calling for criminal charges for everything from incitement to racketeering to bank fraud. Legal experts on CNN and MSNBC seemed to appear like crisis counselors after the acquittal to assure viewers that all was well because Trump can be clearly prosecuted and convicted.

The question is how serious a prosecution threat is Trump facing. The answer is that the basis for such charges has been wildly overstated and that, without additional evidence, Trump is not looking at a trip to the hoosegow any time soon. According to The Associated Press, the Justice Department is not pursuing Trump on the much discussed campaign finance allegations tied to payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.

So let’s look at the two major threats of prosecution and what it would take for a credible prosecution.

Criminal incitement

For weeks, the airwaves have been packed with legal experts assuring hosts that Trump clearly committed not just impeachable but criminal incitement. For example, Harvard professor Laurence Tribe (who previously declared a long list of impeachable or criminal violations) announced the core elements of the crime satisfied: “This guy was inciting not just imminent lawless action, but the violent decapitation of a coordinate branch of the government.”

Such proclamations do better with MSNBC than the DDC (United States District Court for the District of Columbia). The public statements of Trump alone would not make for a credible case for criminal incitement under the controlling case law.

Nevertheless, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine garnered widespread acclaim by announcing soon after the Jan. 6 riot that he was investigating Trump for a possible incitement charge. Then nothing happened. That was strange given the insistence by legal experts that the crime was public and obvious on Jan. 6. Yet, more than a month have gone by without word of an interview for Trump, let alone a charge, on criminal incitement. Why?

The reason is that while the crime is not clear, the case law is. In Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that even calling for violence is protected under the First Amendment unless there is a threat of “imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

Trump never called for violence and instead told his followers to go to the Capitol peacefully to “cheer” on those challenging the electoral votes. Such protests at capitals are common and, while reckless, Trump’s speech could as easily be interpreted as a call for protest rather than violence.

Notably, the Ku Klux Klan leader Clarence Brandenburg also referred to a planned march on Congress after declaring that “revengeance” could be taken for the betrayal of the president and Congress. The Supreme Court still overturned the conviction.

The court has consistently rejected the type of arguments by Tribe and other legal experts as a threat to free speech in our society. In Hess v. Indiana, the court rejected the prosecution of a protester declaring an intention to take over the streets, holding that “at worst, (the words) amounted to nothing more than advocacy of illegal action at some indefinite future time.” In another case, NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., the court overturned a judgment against the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after one official declared, “If we catch any of you going in any of them racist stores, we’re gonna break your damn neck.” That was ruled as the hyperbolic language of advocacy.

Trump could also point to the timeline:

►He ended his speech at 1:10 p.m.

►The first rioter entered the U.S. Capitol at 2:12.

►According to CNN, Trump had a heated call around 2:20 with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who told him of the breach.

►Around 2:26, Trump mistakenly called Utah Sen. Mike Lee instead of Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville. After Lee gave Tuberville his phone, he reportedly said that Trump did not appear to realize the extent of the rioting in the building.

►At 2:38, Trump called for his followers to be peaceful and to support police. 

That would not make for a strong case for criminal incitement.

What would be needed? Prosecutors would need testimony showing that Trump knew of the high risk of violence and wanted it to occur. They would also seek evidence that Trump actively delayed deployment of reinforcements or sought to block efforts at preparation. What is clear is that the speech (and prior public statements) would not be enough to sustain a conviction.

Racketeering

Like Racine, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been lionized for opening criminal investigation into the phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger last month. Willis suggested that Trump’s pressuring of Raffensperger could constitute “solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.” 

Again, the call itself does not clearly establish such crimes.

While often omitted in news accounts, the call was actually a settlement discussion between the Trump team and the Georgia team. There were a variety of lawyers present, not some backroom arm twisting. The Trump campaign alleged there were uncounted votes that surpassed the 11,779 deficit, and Trump asserted, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”

Former prosecutor Daniel Goldman (who worked on the first Trump impeachment) tweeted that the smoking gun was the line by Trump, “ ‘It’s gonna be costly to you.’ I’ve charged extortion in mob cases with similar language.”

In reality, the line was, “It’s going to be very costly in many ways,” which is very different.

That is also a common point in a settlement negotiation. However, as a criminal defense attorney for 30 years, I would be eager to see Goldman’s prosecution of someone on such a statement in a case like this.

So what would Willis need? She would need to show pressure outside of a settlement discussion in which both sides are expected to state their positions and demands strongly. That could take the form of Trump making or supporting threats, or making promises to Raffensperger to get him to violate the law. The call itself is not a smoking gun of criminality.

That does not mean Trump does not face other threats. The most credible could come out of New York, where he is being investigated for bank and tax fraud predating his administration. While overreporting or underreporting assets is common in the real estate business, these tend to be crimes more easy to prosecute before a jury. It is also difficult to argue selective prosecution in such cases and prosecutors can portray missing or inaccurate reporting as cut-and-dried violations.

Despite the drumbeat for prosecution, such charges could easily backfire. If Trump were to beat the charges at trial or on appeal, it would be cited as vindication not just on the charges but on the second impeachment. The former president could end up like the character of Big Jule in “Guys and Dolls” proudly proclaiming, “33 arrests, no convictions.” Indeed, absent new transformative evidence, prosecuting Trump on the cases in Washington or Georgia could result in a resounding victory just before the 2024 election. They could make Big Jule’s record not just a criminal boast but a presidential slogan.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter: @JonathanTurley

 

 

 

109 thoughts on “Want To Prosecute Trump? It Will Require Proof Not Politics For A Viable Case”

  1. Jonathan: Nothing would warm my heart more then to see Trump go to federal prison and be the love object of a big, hairy felon covered in tattoos. Trump needs to be held accountable for all the crimes he committed while in office. If more Republican Senators had shown cajones and convicted Trump and banned him from ever running for public office, state federal prosecutors might be less inclined to now want to go after Trump. Besides the legal challenges there are also political considerations. Pres. Biden, like most Americans, would like Trump to just go away and wile away his days playing golf. Biden has an big agenda and doesn’t want criminal indictments of Trump to dominate the news cycle.

    I don’t buy your argument that Trump is not responsible for inciting the riot at the Capitol on Jan 6. Even Mitch McConnell, a firm supporter of Trump’s four-year agenda, thinks Trump is “practically and morally” culpable. I know, that doesn’t mean Trump could be convicted of criminal incitement. I re-read Trump’s entire speech to his supporters at the Ellipse. The speech was preceded by Rudy Giuliani who told the crowd he expected a “trial by combat”. Trump praised Rudy. Trump only used “peacefully” ONE time during the hour long speech. I think that word was inserted in the speech so if the worst happened Trump would have plausible deniability. The rest of the speech was laced with the word “fight” — more times than I could count. When Trump looked out at the crowd at the Ellipse he could see many were dressed in combat gear, helmets and were armed to the teeth. What did Trump expect would happen because of his incendiary rhetoric? Trump knew that a “peaceful” protest behind the barricades in front of the Capitol would not stop the certification of the Electoral Votes. VP Pence made that clear to Trump days before. The Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other militia types who were invited by Trump knew what was expected of them.–“STOP THE STEAL” by any means. Trump knew there was a high probability of violence and he did nothing to stop it. Trump told the crowd: “I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down…”. Instead, Trump fled back to the White House because his aides probably told him what was already unfolding in front of the Capitol and if he walked down with his supporters he could be charged with inciting a riot.

    Your contorted timeline for the events on Jan. 6 does not reflect the true reality. Trump’s supporters started streaming down to the Capitol at about 12:29 pm–long before Trump ended his rally speech. Between 12:53 and 1:03 the rioters breached the temporary barriers in front of the Capitol and were fighting with Capitol police. Even before the end of his speech Trump was no doubt told what was happening at the Capitol. Did he say anything to try to stop the rioters? Nope. He went back to the White House and watched the TV and the live streaming of the riot inside the Capitol. Aides said Trump seemed “excited” Between 2:11 and 2:16 the rioters broke into the Capitol building and started their rampage. At 2:22 VP Pence was rushed from the Senate chamber barely escaping the rioters who were looking for him. You bizarrely claim Trump didn’t know what was going on. At 2:24 Trump tweeted: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done”. Trump knew exactly what was happening. He wanted to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote and he didn’t care what happened to Pence in the process! Around this time Trump had his shouting match with Kevin McCarthy who told Trump he had to call on his supporters to leave the building. What did Trump do? Nothing, It was not until 2:38 that Trump tweeted for his followers to “Stay peaceful” –a statement he probably only made because White House counsel and other aides told Trump he had to say something or would be perceived as encouraging the riot. A little late for Trump to say this wouldn’t you say?

    I think if you examine the entire timeline, including the one presented by the House managers, and not the false narrative you have presented the conclusion is inescapable. After he lost all his legal challenges to the election Trump saw only 2 paths to staying in power. First by getting state election officials to change the legitimate and verified vote count in states like Georgia. He threatened Secretary of State Raffensperger with a DOJ criminal investigation if the Georgia vote was not fraudulently changed to make Trump the winner. It was plain extortion–just like Trump’s infamous call to the Ukrainian president that got him impeached the first time .Fortunately, Raffensperger and other Georgia election officials refused to agree to violate the state’s election laws. That left Trump with only one option. Stop the certification of the Electoral College vote by summoning the Proud Boys (who were “standing by”) and other right-wing militia types to the Capitol and do what they do best–commit violence. It was planned carefully and methodically.

    What amazes me is that even now when he is out of office you keep defending Trump. You now sound more like a ambulance chasing lawyer rather a neutral and detached academic. Perhaps, you are auditioning for a job as defense counsel in some of the many lawsuits Trump faces. Here’s some advice. Don’t accept any calls from Donald J. Trump. He’s toxic and no reputable lawyer will represent him. But if you do take Trump’s call get a hefty retainer up front. Trump has a bad habit of stiffing those he employs.

    1. Although you are probably sincere, your comments reflect the msm narrative, your support of Biden, and your deep pathological hatred of Pres. Trump. The picture you paint is very different from the reality. There was no incitement (read the law), it is the 50 Dems and seven Repubs who voted against Pres. Trump’s free speech rights…a dangerous day in America. The attack was planned for weeks, with FB being the major venue. Antifa and BLM were both involved, with major news media paying big bucks for the footage by Jonathan Sullivan of antifa. Trump haters are being eaten alive by their hatred and rage. You guys should just stop it. Pres. Trump is no longer President, so move along. Leave him alone. He is a human being.

    2. When your first sentence not only advocates rape as punishment but exclaims the joy you feel at merely imagining your political enemies being raped it doesn’t help anyone take your argument seriously.

  2. Elvis Bug tells us that Trump is in financial trouble. Net worth of two billion. I’ll explain it further so that even Elvis Bug can understand. That’s two thousand million. If he drops twenty million a year on lawyers so what. Elvis bug is determined to keep Trump in the news so Trump won’t have to spend any of his two billion on advertising. Elvis Bug is having a blue moon over Kentucky moment.

            1. No, but any one of them should be able to tell you that his balance sheet is not all that matters, especially if he’s engaging in fraud when it comes to determining the value of his assets.

              1. Well golly gee, that’s the same advice I provide my clients when I do their accounting. And now that my tax season has begun, I see the fruits of that labor.

                Anyway, you said if. Do you have any other imaginary crimes you want to offer advice on?

      1. What is the cash flow from all of his holdings?

        What are current interest rates?

        What are properties he might sell if required to raise that money?

        Banks like to make Loans…..especially to politically connected people.

      2. If those figures were true, he’d be more than glad to release his tax returns. And…where did you get this information, anyway? Reliable sources I’ve read say his properties are all under water, especially his hotels, which are cutting corners by doing things like no fresh flowers and other cost-cutting measures. Why does he need to turn to Russia to borrow money if he has equity in his properties?

    1. Cpt. Elvis Insect has trump derangement syndrome bad…really bad. You also point out cpt Insect’s poor grasp of math and numbers in general.

  3. Oh, go ahead. Keep at it. Targeting Trump won’t make a dent in the conservative movement that approved of the policies he championed. Damn, after 4 years, you’d think that lesson would have been learned. It’s not as though he doesn’t feast on all this free publicity. In the meantime, we have a dementia patient living in the White House who is likely signing away our national security because his VP promised to pardon him once the 25th amendment is invoked. It is the quintessential Quid Pro Quo. Forever to be known as getting Bidened.

    1. OLLY: exactly what policies did Trump champion??

      Trumpism was merely whatever Trump said it was on any particular day.

      So it’s peculiar that Republicans invested so heavily in Trump. Without Trump, Trumpism is an empty ideology.

      1. OLLY: exactly what policies did Trump champion??

        Conservatives policies that focused on putting America first, like the following:* (That’s likely why you’ve never heard of them, or like them)

        Climate
        Foreign Policy
        Immigration
        Judiciary
        Tax Cuts
        Trade

        *And no, I won’t chase you down a rabbit hole to give you more detail. Look them up yourself, study them or not…I really don’t care.

        So it’s peculiar that Republicans invested so heavily in Trump. Without Trump, Trumpism is an empty ideology.

        Republicans invested in policies, not Trump, because the conservative base wanted them. That seems to be the point lost on Democrats and the Left in general. Conservatism is a worldview, not a person. Trump governed consistent with our worldview. Had he not, he would have been rejected. So go ahead, attack Trump. This will only strengthen the conservative base.

        1. Trump stands for nothing other than personal aggrandizement and nurturing of his persona of a fabulously wealthy very stable genius in astonishingly good health. He ran for office as a means of free publicity for the Trump brand, expecting to lose, which he really did but for cheating. He is not, and has never been a patriot–he considers people who volunteer to serve America to be “suckers”, so your argument about patriotism motivating him has no support. He doesn’t care about climate change or anything else either–he did what he had to do to try to curry favor with Republicans. So, they wanted America to leave the Paris Climate Accord, which Trump never heard of until he cheated his way into office, and he did it. “Foreign policy” to him is nothing more than a way to bully foreign people, show off and pretend to be important. He was disrespected everywhere he went except Israel because they manipulated him into moving our Embassy to Jerusalem as a way to signal to the Palestinians who live there that America favors Israel over them–a way to grab more territory of the Palestinians with impunity. Immigration is also something he used for power purposes to pander to the White Supremacists-he was caught employing illegals at all of his resorts. “Judiciary” was another way to curry favor with Republicans–he knew nothing about any appointees, but did what he was told to do so he could take credit for stacking the courts. The same for tax cuts. As to trade, his stupid tariff war with China backfired spectacularly. We now have the worst trade deficit in 15 years. Everything Trump touches dies.

  4. Is this blog for the defenses of Trump full time or does Turley just pretend it’s a law blog to satisfy his Trump supporting base. Or does Turley just write his blog for one person, or say maybe his legal team.

    1. FishWings is still writing about Trump a month after he has been out of office. What ever will he do without his Biinky and his wittle Trumpy pacifier. He’ll just stamp his feet and cry even louder. Trump go away mommy. Trump go away!

  5. “Want To Prosecute Trump? It Will Require Proof Not Politics For A Viable Case”

    – Professor Turley
    ______________

    Tell that to the North Carolina DA, Mike Nifong, who vigorously and maliciously prosecuted and defamed the Duke lacrosse team members.

    Tell that to Judge[?] Emmet Sullivan who went rogue and perpetuated the malicious prosecution of Genera Flynn.

  6. The saddest truth is we no longer have a system of justice in this country. We have a system of enforcement for the rich and well connected global elite mostly democrats. What else can a country of slaves expect.

  7. Ha. Sorry, Jon. Unlikely that evidence along the lines of the baker doing it in the dining room with the candlestick is forthcoming. And while thematically it’s clear that you, personally, don’t believe trump is guilty (or professionally as a Fox analyst as well) the truth is there is much to investigate. While Georgia and NY are the most likely to result in formal charges due to taped calls and actual money trails, don’t sleep on D.C. A bunch of people being charged in the trump inspired Capitol riot are directly citing trump as the reason they went in. Hard to charge them and then leave the straw that stirs the drink free — if for no other reason than it’s a really small step between trump’s calls for fighting & Rudi’s for combat, resulting in a sizable group of idiots stocking up on zip ties, beating cops with flag poles and then taking a s&*t on the floor.

    While the republican party may still quake in their boots about the prospect of going against trump’s base, truth is dems fear repub voting suppression efforts more than they do trump himself, making this: “However, Democrats may also be laying the foundation for Trump to claim vindication in defeating such cases in courts. ” much less significant to them than it is to repubs. Trump being acquitted for something everyone knows he’s guilty of isn’t really news anymore and, politically speaking, having McConnell watch your back as an advocate is much more effective than having McCarthy playing that role, we can stipulate to that I’m sure and smile at trump’s recent work in that sphere, no?

    Thing is, trump fears charges going forward due to his troubles with putting a legal team together. As shown by the second impeachment when you spoke at a luncheon for the repubs on strategy…, you’re willing to advise from the cheap seats, but not nearly as willing to risk it in court with him. And taking the beating of long trials is not something trump will not be up for. I suspect there may be plea agreements in the future with the condition of trump not being able to run for office ever again attached.

    What will keep trump out of jail is the logistics of the Secret Service having to protect him there. Better bet that L’Orange is looking at lengthy home confinement time.

    Elvis Bug

    1. Elvis Bug says everyone knows that Trump is guilty. Elvis Bug believes in his mind that everyone knows that Trump is guilty. You see, Elvis Bug really believes he speaks for everyone. Shush don’t tell him, he always becomes upset and starts howling at the moon and it takes hours to get him to stop.

      1. When has any of the socialist fascist left ever provide any fact in support of their garbage Answer is NEVER. When have they produced nothing out of thin air. and from where did they not get it. Every time and from their Manifesto. They are not capable of anything else. Easy for them they are barely capable of producing from nothing. With one exception

        One of the reasons we wanted to elect an outsider was the ability to to expose the socialist far – it was identify them. It turned out better than expected. is they took the bait and begin exposing themselves in public. It wasn’t just their love affair with porn and the use of four letter words – how else to best express themselves? That was thought to be imposible yet they did exactly that without waiting for the always successful ambush’s of our last President. and now we all know why they are referred to as The Stupid Party. Still true to this day. Easy for them they have professional Hollywierd script writers and only need to play the part of psittacus Perhaps it is the family of parrots that gave rise to the phrase sitt in caucus.

      2. Only observation you may have missed on cpt Insect is his severe malady of TDS – Trump Derangement Syndrome. His only hope of a cure is to first rmove his head form his posterior…I for one am not holding my breath for that to happen.

    2. Elvis bug, do you really think that Trump is afraid of litigation. The cost of a few lawyers is a pittance in a billionaires’ world. Trump fighting lawsuits is the cheapest advertising he can buy and you want to help him do it. You sure do have yourself a fine plan there Elvis with your Jailhouse Rock.

      1. Trump’s in financial trouble and having formal charges and lawsuits w/ discovery attached certainly scare trumpy bear. That’s why he settled over trumpy bear university.

        EB

    3. EB refers to “repub voting suppression efforts.”

      What are these supposed “suppression efforts?”

      Requiring voter ID, even though it’s needed for pretty much everything in society nowadays and is a requirement in many other countries? Show me all these supposed people in US without any sort of photo ID today–they are as rare a species as someone supporting a family on minimum wage.

      Requiring that voter rolls be cleaned up? Show me how cleaning up the rolls suppresses votes, unless you like the idea of dead people voting or people voting more than once because they’re on more than one voter roll.

      1. I invite you to review the 165 bills around the states — since election day — are getting off the ground. All of them seeking to limit voting.

        EB

        1. So by your own admission then Voting without ID , voting as a non citizen , Voting multiple times – being addressed to stop these shenanigans is “voter suppression” ?. You need to lay off the bug spray huffing..it’s starting to show bruh.

          1. Should you come up with actual proof of these things happening on a large enough scale to throw elections there is certainly something to talk about in regard to your reasoning. Since those things haven’t been proven, and these voter suppression tactics are extremely targeted to people of color, poorer neighborhoods, etc. you bear a high standard of proof which has not been made.

            EB

  8. All you Trump haters out there just might get what you wish for. Professor Turley is trying to warn you that if Trump is tried and found innocent the Trump haters will be exposed to the people of the nation just before the 2024 election. Do you really want to keep Trump front and center in the news. Maybe you better think it through again. If Trump wins his case he will expose the witch hunters bigly.

    1. Sad truth is that Trump could never be tried because the prosecution knows that they could never find an impartial jury.

    2. Trump’s old news. He was even before the election. Granted he put up a hell of an effort to overthrow the election, and truthfully but for a handful of principled republicans might’ve actually pulled it off, but he’s done. Good riddance That 7 million vote deficit just grows from here on.

      EB

      1. Elvis Bug. Trump may indeed be old news, but you want charges brought against him that will make him new news. Dear Elvis it’s so confusing. Do you want Trump to remain old news or do you want him to be new news. We can give you some time. It seems that you have not reached a final determination. We can wait until things are more clear in your mind.

        1. If you actually read my post with any sort of reading comprehension, which seems not the case, you’d realize you’re conflating two of my posts together. However, even if I’d written them together (and you’d actually understood the post you’re conflating with this one) you’d know that I actively disagree with the supposition that trump being on trial puts him in the spotlight enough to win another electoral college technical decision. Dems fear voter suppression more than they fear trump now, on trial or not. There is just not the stomach for putting such an inept and incompetent president back in office.

          Most importantly, trump needs to be made accountable if formally charged. Full stop.

          Now I leave you to revel in your own fantasy.

          EB

        2. I’d wager cpt Insect with TDS wants Trump front and center to take the spotlight off Senile Lord Darth Biden of chyna and his halfwit hussie kamaltoe of Kalifornika. In a see of vapid mediocre fake demoratzis the only thing they have to cling to is their hate. We see it daily form these shallow types.
          One trick ponies people , that is all they are , or as senile joe would say “dog faced pony soldiers”… as that’s all his swiss cheese cognizance will allow him.

    3. “Professor Turley is trying to warn you that if Trump is tried and found innocent…”

      Really, TiT? “…found innocent”??

      But hey, did you see this?

      Kaboom:

      “Watch the Trump Era in Atlantic City End With 3,000 Sticks of Dynamite”

      “The implosion of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, the last vestige of the former president’s once-dominant brand in Atlantic City, N.J., took place Wednesday morning.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/17/nyregion/atlantic-city-trump-plaza-implosion.html

      Trump Plaza was the first of three casinos Mr. Trump owned before his gambling businesses in Atlantic City cratered and went bankrupt for good, leaving a trail of unpaid contractors and suppliers — and a bad taste for the Trump brand in this struggling city of 38,000.

      To detractors, including the Democratic mayor, Marty Small, Wednesday’s demolition was the vivid embodiment of a long-awaited end.

      “This is not about President Trump, because, quite frankly, the people here in the great city of Atlantic City knew how the presidency was going to play out on a national stage because we’re one of the cities that knew him best,” Mr. Small said after the implosion. — New York Times

  9. Any jury not recognizing this for the political witch hunt it so obviously is needs to turn in their jury badge. I’m betting it’s: Move over Gotti, we have a new Teflon Don!

    1. Gotti eventually was convicted when Sammy the Bull rolled and then Gotti died in prison. Agreed. i think that’s what we’re looking at here.

      Elvis

      1. Elv:

        Gotti got convicted after the feds took away his lawyer, Bruce Cutler, on a trumped up “conflicts/part of the evidence” charge. They couldn’t beat him in a fair fight which is sorta the Dims way isn’t it? Cheat until you win.

        1. yes because they taped conversations between the lawyer and client. thus transforming them from privileged, into evidence. wasnt that cute? but cutler was a very impressive performer in court, wow. a legend

          but the bad habit of organized crime of betraying and murdering each other caught up to them too. of course what can one expect of a serial killer like gravano. gotti was a fool for thinking he could keep the socalled “bull” on a leash. he was a fool for inviting attention too. dont forget gotti was also the guy who broke their rules and killed his own boss, Castellano. this is alwyas the problem with rule breakers. they forget karma

          sal sar

          1. I was always perversely impressed by Cutler. He reminded me of what old school Providence was like.

            EB

  10. I keep remembering Diane making utterances like “Robert Swann Mueller will not be deterred”. You’ve got the circle jerk participants here, complete with Gainesville under multiple handles.

    1. Arty said: “You’ve got the circle jerk participants here, complete with Gainesville under multiple handles.”

      Arty knows all about ‘circle jerks.’ He’s a frequent ‘participant.’

  11. A “Big Julie” reference. Nicely done. The grand inquisitors will need a little bit of lady luck to make these things stick

    1. So Anon joe Friday is now telling us that the event on 1/6 was preplanned and not a spontaneous insurrection brought on by Trumps peacefully protest words. Soon Anon joe Friday will get his story straight. Alas, no such luck.

      1. You may be one of the few people left who doesn’t know that Thinkit. I recommend the video evidence put together by the House managers, the content of which convinced even GOP senators who voted to acquit on the supposed “constitutional” principle Turley was hawking until he was called out on it.

  12. Calling the Trump call to the GA SoS a “settlement discussion” is an outright lie. They only referenced discussing a settlement once, and that was to suggest that they start settlement negotiations. Also the lawyers involved in the suit were not even on the call. The entirety of the call was Trump trying to get the SoS to change the vote totals to give Trump the win. Trump was not asking for an recount, or a non-partisan look at signatures (which already happened), nor anything else neutral. He was specifically asking to be declared the winner. There is very strong evidence of election fraud in this call. The transcript speaks for itself. Now, Trump would never be convicted because there is zero chance that a non-bias jury could be found.

    1. Calling the Trump call to the GA SoS a “settlement discussion” is an outright lie. They only referenced discussing a settlement once, and that was to suggest that they start settlement negotiations. Also the lawyers involved in the suit were not even on the call.

      Well, we know what line the talking point mills are pushing.

      1. Raffensperger released a tape. Here’s a transcript –
        https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-nw-trump-georgia-phone-call-transcript-20210104-ivcio2yuyfgm7onlm4vipxpmzu-htmlstory.html

        Marc Elias: “Trump and his allies have lost 60 post-election lawsuits, including several in GA. There are no cases that could have plausibly been the subject of settlement discussion. Oh, and I represent parties in all of those cases, so I would have had to be on the phone as well. I wasn’t.”

        How about you provide some evidence that it *was* a settlement discussion?

  13. “With the acquittal of former President Donald Trump in the Senate, many are calling for criminal charges for everything from incitement to racketeering to bank fraud.”

    To be clear, the allegations of financial fraud precede the impeachment and the insurrection on 1/6.

    “According to The Associated Press, the Justice Department is not pursuing Trump on the much discussed campaign finance allegations tied to payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.”

    But we know that NY State *is* pursuing tax fraud and insurance fraud allegations and just added an experienced financial fraud prosecutor to their team (https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/18/politics/manhattan-district-attorney-trump/index.html). So when Turley says “So let’s look at the two major threats of prosecution and what it would take for a credible prosecution,” he is actively ignoring a major threat of prosecution. He later acknowledges this, adding “That does not mean Trump does not face other threats. The most credible could come out of New York, where he is being investigated for bank and tax fraud predating his administration.” So why didn’t he discuss this credible threat of prosecution?

    “While often omitted in news accounts, the call was actually a settlement discussion between the Trump team and the Georgia team.”

    That’s not a fact, and it has been contested by at least one attorney involved in the GA suit who would have needed to be on the call had it been a settlement discussion.

    Turley mentions Rep. Thompson’s suit in the intro, but then he is silent about it further on. It merits an actual discussion. Turley is also silent about the active civil suits against Trump, and they merit discussion as well.

    1. The call was in significant part about some of the specific allegations in the case and ended with a discussion of what information might be provided to the plaintiffs. Trump believed that some of the Biden votes were illegal and that access to the information would allow enough of them to be found to change the results in Georgia. Lawyers for both sides were on the call and, encouraged by Meadows, were considering meeting to review what information relating to certain allegations might be made available. I believe that’s why it is sometimes referred to as a settlement discussion. In the end the Secretary of State’s lawyers did not agree to make anything available.

      1. Daniel, when you say “the case,” I don’t know which case you’re talking about. There were a bunch of post-election legal suits in GA involving the presidential election. Would you clarify which case you’re talking about?

        Until you do that, there’s no way for me to check who the defendants were, and whether lawyers for all of the defendants were on the call. I’m open to changing my mind, but I need to be able to review actual evidence. I linked to a transcript of the call earlier, in my 10:42 AM, and there’s no statement in the call that it was a settlement discussion.

        If it helps, I’m pretty sure that this is a comprehensive list of the post-election cases in GA involving the presidential election:
        https://www.democracydocket.com/state/georgia/?by_case_type=post-election

        Also, a correction: when I said “it has been contested by at least one attorney involved in the GA suit who would have needed to be on the call had it been a settlement discussion,” that should have been “suits” (plural).

        1. It’s the one called Trump v Raffensperger which alleges that specific numbers of votes in different categories were illegal. These specific allegations are discussed on the call, and at the end the lawyers consider getting together to go over the data that is in the Secretary of State’s possession. In the end the lawyer for the Secretary of State says he won’t make any underlying data available. So far as I am aware that case has still not been resolved.

          1. Daniel,

            That case is listed on the page I linked to. There are a large number of respondents; you can see the list if you click on the first link — the petition.

            If you click on the “Read the emergency motion to intervene” link, you’ll see that the people elected as Biden Electoral College electors for GA moved to intervene in the case. Marc Elias was among their lawyers. He has stated that he would have needed to be involved in any settlement discussion. Looks to me like others also moved to intervene, based on the list of intervenors and their counsel in the very last link, “Read defendants response to the notice of voluntary dismissal here.”

            You can read the emergency motion to the GA Supreme Court and the order from the GA Supreme Court, rejecting the motion, meaning that the case would proceed through normal channels.

            If you click on the “Read the notice of voluntary dismissal here” link, you’ll see that the petitioners requested that the case be dismissed without prejudice. Two letters are appended, one from a lawyer for the State of GA and one from a lawyer for the petitioners. You’ll see that the first refers to the circumstances under which data will be shared. You’ll see that the second refers to the first letter as a “settlement offer,” even though the first letter does not describe itself that way. If you then click on the “Read defendants response to the notice of voluntary dismissal here” link, you’ll see that defendants objected to the latter letter’s reference to a “settlement offer.” That’s discussed in the opening and also in Exhibit A. They did not object to voluntary dismissal.

            AFAIK, no one objected to the voluntary dismissal, and I assume that the case was dismissed.

            Returning to the question of whether the call was a “settlement discussion,” I don’t see how it could possibly have been a settlement discussion unless all parties agreed to it being a settlement discussion and the call also included lawyers for the many intervenors.

            1. committas…please stick to mouth breathing as your attempted liar/lawyer skillz are sadly in the dumpster. You wish too hard…and the facts are quite plain. Nothing fits your definitions without twisting and manipulation.

  14. Two simple questions to the Professor and the lawyers commenting on this blog — isn’t the use of the courts to harass an individual unethical? If so, can those who weaponize the law to destroy political opponents be punished in any meaningful way?

        1. She won’t. she knows the lion does not stoop to conquer, nor does the elephant notice the flies who nibble at his rump. Sal

    1. Lawyers work for clients. It’s interesting to watch Trump defenders muse about law suits when their leader loves a good law suit as long as he’s using it to bludgeon someone else. Layers have ethical duties of candor to the courts and and duties relating to the filing of frivolous claims. Trump’s lawyers ignored all of their duties. There are credible prosecutions to be had relating to Trump and his gang and they should be brought. It is time to confirm the rule of law.

      1. Holmes apparently was a lawyer for a long time so he knows, that suits like that go nowhere fast. Likewise, bogus ethics charges. Feel free to waste your energy. Sal

    2. AOG:

      The legal standard is filed with no basis in law or fact and interposed for a frivolous and/or harassing motive. That’s a tough standard so I’m betting all suit get dismissed but each side pays their own fees/costs. We don’t penalize for stupid; we don’t penalize for malicious. We penalize for stupid and malicious.

      1. Thank you, Mespo.
        So we can expect shadow-boxing and side-shows.
        Plus la change, plus la meme chose, huh?

  15. The proof will be in the pudding. Puddin Tain…ask me again I’ll tell you the same.
    –old song from 1962

    1. Joe Biden is president Puddin Brain….who is running the show cuz it ain’t Puddin Brain. He’s busy playing Mario Kart while Kamala makes calls to heads of state.

      1. Maybe a fight between the Jill Faction and the Kamala Faction is brewing. When Pelosi and AOC pitch in it will become a very interesting fight. Of course the country will go to hell, but who cares about that?

        1. If we are lucky that one will end up like a California versus New York, New money billionaires versus old money billionaires type fight, and they will wipe each other out.

          Don’t hold your breath.

          I’m sincerely praying for President of the United States Joe Biden every day. He has much of our fate in his own hands. It’s a terribly hard job, but he’s wanted it for decades, and now he has his chance. I am hoping for the best.

          Sal Sar

            1. “It is clear US President Joe Biden is not up to the task he has been “sworn in to do”, according to Sky News host Cory Bernardi.

              “Never before has the leader of the free world been so cognitively compromised,” Mr Bernardi said

              “It’s clear to me at the least that US President Joe Biden is struggling with dementia and is clearly not up to the task he’s been sworn in to do.”

              https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_6233603126001

              1. Bernardi is a former Australian politician and was the leader of the Australian Conservatives. He might be a tad biased.

                1. What they call “conservatives” down under we call liberals up yonder. You would know this if you read a wee bit more. Anyhow attack the aussie…but not his succinct observations ?. Gee you must not like the reality pointed out there. Senile Lord Darth biden of chyna is , and always has been a mental midget , plagiarist and whore dog. Always gaff prone – especially gaffs of self important lies aggrandizing himself in glory etc etc. But what foggy bottom is in all reality is a Lifetime grifter on the dole whom rarely if ever has made any political impression other than his gargantuan selfish gaffs and corruption. Using his family to vacuum in the graft – especially Chinese communist payola is so badly hidden , inept by any standard. Oh what’s that his brother said “plausible deniability…yeah that insidious take..the family take.
                  Meanwhile fearless leader’s dementia grows more obvious to those not so woke they cant see it. And his minions work hard into the night to unbeclown him whilst they push open borders and masses of illegals to come hither and dilute the American dream. Now these apparatchiks need to work harder to hide the cost of their deceit upon the legal citizenry and crow all manner of distractions whilst they try and grow the pool of ignorance to anoint these as demoratzi voters. And with big tech oligarchs doing their bidding they feel there is nothing that canstop them in suppressing speech and ramming illegals unto us by the score. Velkommen to ze new Amerika komeraden !>

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