Below is my column in the New York Post on the continued drama in Manhattan over the possible Trump indictment. Alvin Bragg may still secure an indictment, but the reports of divisions on the grand jury have captivated the press. Donald Trump remains Bragg’s political manifest destiny even if there is no legal landfall in sight.
Here is the column:
It appears that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will go another week in the legal effort to locate the nation of Kailasa on a map.
Recently, Mayor Ras Baraka and the city of Newark held a formal ceremony signing a partnership with the nation of Kailasa that pledged mutual cultural, social and political development.
After all of the fanfare, pomp and circumstance subsided, a small problem emerged.
Kailasa does not exist.
One can certainly wonder why no one in Newark has access to Google or bothered to ask how a Hindu nation was founded by an accused con man formed on an island off the coast of Ecuador.
However, to their credit, they did not continue to try to prove that Kailasa actually did exist under some creative geographical and political interpretation.
Despite similar widespread doubts over the existence of a viable state crime, Alvin Bragg continues a quest for his legal Kailasa.
While an indictment was expected this week, the grand jury looking into former President Donald Trump will go another week amid reports of opposition in the grand jury over what is viewed as a “weak” case.
The problem is that Bragg has long been searching for a crime in the criminal code to fulfill his pitch during his campaign that he was the man for voters who wanted to bag Trump.
The falsification of business records in reference to the $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels might have been a possibility, but it lacked two things.
First, it expired as a chargeable misdemeanor after two years — and that was roughly five years ago.
Second, it was a mere misdemeanor that could be brushed off by Trump even if they succeeded.
Prosecutors then created a Rube Goldberg approach and suggested that the misdemeanor was committed to conceal a federal election law violation — a crime that the Justice Department declined to charge.
That theory has been widely ridiculed, even by many on the left. The bootstrapping of a federal crime under this statute appears unprecedented and likely unsustainable.
The reason that the Justice Department likely declined the case was that it had previously tried to show that hush money paid to bury an affair was a federal campaign expense.
It failed in the case of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.
There are a host of reasons why a married celebrity like Trump might pay hush money separate from a presidential run.
Bragg himself scoffed at the theory and stopped the investigation when he came into power.
Two prosecutors, Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz, then resigned and Pomerantz took what some of us view as a highly unprofessional and improper act of publishing a book on the case against Trump — a person who was still under investigation and not charged, let alone convicted, of any crime.
The pressure campaign worked and Bragg pushed the dubious theory to a grand jury.
Like Kailasa, the Bragg indictment has an established con man who insisted it exists.
Bragg has Michael Cohen, the former lawyer to Trump. A disbarred lawyer, Cohen is a convicted felon and one of the most repellent figures with a long history of false statements.
Then things got even worse when the lawyer for his star witness came forward with more than 300 emails contradicting his testimony.
Another letter on behalf of Cohen to the Federal Election Commission also surfaced that expressly contradicted his claims.
Finally, and probably most significantly for Bragg, the politics may have turned.
Even Democrats are hard pressed to defend the reported basis for the indictment and Sen. Chuck Schumer declined to express his support for the effort.
The media and pundits have warned that Bragg could be undermining other efforts to indict Trump before the election with this weak case.
Trump has said for years that Democrats have weaponized the criminal justice system against him and Bragg just gave him proof positive to support that claim.
With this raw political prosecution, Bragg fulfilled the narrative of Trump, who is rising in the polls at the very time that Biden is plunging.
The expectation is still that Bragg can get an indictment even out of a skeptical grand jury. He could then bank on a favorable and motivated judge and jury.
Moreover, even if the case ultimately fails on appeal, many in New York will still praise Bragg.
This is a thrill kill case and the prospect for many Democrats of Trump in handcuffs is exhilarating to the point of being indecent.
For some voters, it may be commendable that Bragg would prosecute Trump on a trumped-up case. After all, any prosecutor can bring a real case. It takes a true believer to prosecute when there is no viable crime.
So Bragg continues to stare at the map to find his Kailasa. He just needs to convince a grand jury that they see it, too.
Jonathan Turley is an attorney and a professor at George Washington University Law School.