Turley Says Higher Courts Likely Won’t Let Trump Verdict Stand

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley suggested the higher courts will likely not allow the guilty verdict against former President Donald Trump to stand following the appeals process.

The jury selected in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s trial found Trump guilty of all 34 counts alleging he falsified business records to cover up an affair by paying $130,000 to former porn actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. Trump’s legal team has expressed their intent to appeal the case, potentially slating the verdict to be deliberated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I personally don’t see how this verdict can be sustained,” Turley said Monday on “America Reports.” “I was in that courtroom and I was shocked by how the court was ruling and I would hope that eventually, maybe not initially but eventually, an appeal will prevail and the verdict will be thrown out.”

The law professor argued the trial is “a target-rich environment for an appeal” due to the “multiple layers of reversible error,” which has led to the distrust in the New York judicial system. (RELATED: Turley Says He Is ‘Saddened’ By Guilty Verdict, Suggests Case Drove Major Wedge In American Legal System) 

New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan, who oversaw the trial, instructed the jury to consider three crimes as “unlawful” means: either a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), the falsification of other business records or violations of tax fraud. He told jurors they did not need to agree on the “unlawful” means prosecutors allege Trump used to influence the 2016 election.

Legal experts, including Turley and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy McCarthy, branded the judge’s instructions as being unusual and the “antithesis of standard” given that the jurors did not need to agree on the alleged “unlawful” means committed.

Elie Honig, a former colleague of Bragg, called the case an “ill-conceived, unjustified mess,” lamenting the “unprecedented” and “obscure” nature of the “inventive” and “inflated” charges in a Friday piece for The New Yorker. He criticized the judge’s $35 donation to the Biden campaign as a “plain violation” of a rule for a judge, and highlighted that no state prosecutor had ever charged federal election laws as state crimes.

“The charges against Trump are obscure, and nearly entirely unprecedented. In fact, no state prosecutor — in New York, or Wyoming, or anywhere — has ever charged federal election laws as a direct or predicate state crime, against anyone, for anything. None. Ever. Even putting aside the specifics of election law, the Manhattan DA itself almost never brings any case in which falsification of business records is the only charge,” Honig wrote.

Honig added the timing of the trial is unfair due to the 2024 election being months away.

Todd Blance, an attorney for Trump, said the team will argue Trump was not granted a free and fair trial during the appeals process, arguing every detail about the case had been publicly disclosed ahead of jury deliberations. He further noted the jury could not have gone through the deliberation process without holding a particular political bias against Trump.