The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Arresting President Trump is a Publicity Stunt

District Attorney Bragg’s case is politically motivated.
Photo Courtesy / Unsplash Tiziano Brignoli

Since entering into the political landscape, former president Donald Trump has been no stranger to legal battles. But, if his claim on Truth Social that he will be arrested for what is at worst a misdemeanor is correct, there’s evidence to suggest that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is using the power of his office to score political points. 

To recap what’s being alleged, the New York Times reported that while Trump was in the White House, he reimbursed his former lawyer Michael Cohen $130,000 for providing hush money to another lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Daniels had been trying to sell her story about an affair she claims to have had with Trump in 2006, and how he allegedly lied about getting her an appearance on “The Apprentice.” Trump denies these allegations.

Bragg said he is preparing to seek criminal charges against Trump, using what the Times described as “an untested and therefore risky legal theory involving a complex interplay of laws, all amounting to a low-level felony.” 

The Trump Organization allegedly accounted for the hush money as legal expenses.

Falsifying business records in New York state is a misdemeanor. It becomes a felony only when one does so with the intent to conceal a second crime. Bragg’s prosecutors will reportedly argue that because the hush money silenced information that likely would have hurt Trump’s 2016 campaign, it violates New York State campaign finance law.

Time will tell if this strategy works, but in an interview on Fox News, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andrew McCarthy claimed Bragg walked away from this case twice and said his former office wanted no part in this. 

Cohen himself will reportedly be the “star witness” in the case against Trump. But given that Cohen has spent time in prison for lying under oath to congress, there are obvious concerns about his credibility. A 2018 letter from Cohen’s former lawyer, Stephen Ryan, states that the Trump Organization nor Trump’s 2016 campaign were parties in the hush-money deal, nor did they reimburse him directly or indirectly.

In interviews with the New York Post, former Brooklyn prosecutor Julie Rendelman and former Manhattan prosecutor Michael Bachner both agreed that the letter casts doubt on whether Cohen’s word is reliable. 

If a presidential candidate, let alone someone who once held the office, is to be charged with a felony for the first time in the nation’s history, it would hinge on something undoubtable. A novel, untested legal theory aided by a convicted liar doesn’t exactly fit that bill. All it does is lend credence to Trump’s claims that he is part of a massive witch hunt.

Presuming the case against Trump fails, the backlash could potentially lionize Trump among Republican primary voters, meaning that we have a second Trump and Biden presidential election. That leaves America with two options: more incompetent governance under Biden or letting the guy who was too dumb to cover up his tracks when paying hush money to a porn star run the country again. The only way to truly defeat Trump is at the ballot box. 

Trump has already given the country more than enough evidence he doesn’t intend to run a serious campaign or presidency. Bragg could be throwing a wrench in the system during a time when America needs to reject both candidates, just because Trump would likely be easier for Biden to beat than other, more competent GOP candidates, as well as getting pictures of a Trump mug shot and perp-walk.

Trump calls his supporters to “PROTEST” and “TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” Though people who feel strongly enough are within their rights to protest peacefully, it’s irresponsible to use rhetoric similar to what was said in the lead-up to Jan. 6. Threatening “Death and Destruction” as a result of an indictment, no matter how far-fetched it is, must be condemned by everyone in politics. 

Repeating that same level of violence would give failed leaders like Bragg another embarrassment to dangle over the heads of those who have legitimate grievances against them. Leave it to Trump to sabotage that.

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About the Contributor
Sergio Padilla, Opinion Editor
Sergio is a junior journalism and business administration student currently serving as Opinion Editor. He joined The Torch in 2021 as a contributing writer. He is born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Outside of The Torch, Sergio has bylines in the San Antonio Business Journal and Pensions & Investments. When he's not writing, you can find him at the gym, watching cowboy movies or in line at Dunkin' Donuts. Sergio can be reached at [email protected]

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