OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Harvard Law School professor emeritus and famed attorney Alan Dershowitz said, in an interview and an op-ed, that whoever leaked the sealed indictment in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against former President Donald Trump is likely guilty of a felony.
“It is likely that a serious felony has been committed right under District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s nose, and he is not investigating it. Under New York law, it is a felony to leak confidential grand jury information, such as whether the jurors voted to indict. The protection of secrecy is as applicable to President Trump as it is to anyone else,” the attorney said in an op-ed for The New York Sun.
“We know that the information was disclosed while the indictment itself remains sealed and before any official announcement was made or charges brought. It is unlikely that the leak came from the Trump team, which seemed genuinely surprised,” he added.
“The most likely, though uncertain, scenario is that a person in Mr. Bragg’s office or a grand juror unlawfully leaked the sealed information. That would be a class E felony, subject to imprisonment. It is possible of course that an investigation is underway, but it seems more likely that Mr. Bragg is too busy making up a crime against the man he promised in his campaign to get than investigating a real crime that took place on his watch,” Dershowitz noted further.
“If somebody on the grand jury, prosecutor or grand juror, leaked the fact that there was a vote to indict, that is a one – five-year class E felony under New York,” he said on Fox News.
“Bragg now has a prima facia case that a crime has been committed right in his building, but as far as I know, he’s not investigating it,” Dershowitz later told Fox News.
“We don’t know who did the leak. It is conceivable it could have been done by somebody in the Trump administration, but I doubt it because they seem to have been taken by great surprise, so the most likely source of the leak is someone from within Bragg’s office or within the grand jury. That’s where the focus ought to be,” he added.
A number of legal experts claimed after Trump’s indictment that Bragg has a weak case.
“The question to ask yourself in a case like this [is], ‘Would a case like this be brought against anybody else, whether he or she be president, former president or a regular citizen?’ The answer is… no,” former Whitewater deputy counsel Sol Wisenberg told the New York Post on Friday.
“You can debate all day long whether or not… Trump should be indicted related to the records at Mar-a-Lago, whether or not he should be indicted with respect to Jan. 6 incitement of lawless activity… Those are real crimes if they occurred, and he committed them,” he said. “This is preposterous.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said in an interview with Fox News that the case is “outrageous.”
“[Bragg] is attempting to bootstrap [a] federal crime into a state case. And if that is the basis for the indictment, I think it’s rather outrageous,” the professor said.
“I think it’s illegally pathetic,” he said. “There’s a good reason why the Department of Justice did not prosecute this case: Because it’s been down this road before. It tried a case against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards arguing that hush money paid to another woman, who bore a child out of that relationship, was a campaign violation. That was a much stronger case, but they lost,” Turley said, referring to federal prosecutors not charging Trump following Cohen’s guilty plea.”
“I think [Trump] gets out of it if we still have justice in New York, and I do have confidence in a number of the judges in New York. It’s different than some other places,” added former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served as Trump’s personal lawyer following the 2020 elections, in an appearance on the Newsmax show ‘Greg Kelly Reports.’
“The case is really, really dismissible for about 10 obvious reasons, not the least of which is it violates the statute of limitations,” he added.
“The misdemeanor was not intended for nondisclosure agreements which are contracts between people that are perfectly legitimate. There are at least one million of them probably in existence in New York.
“The latching it on to the federal crime of illegal campaign contributions … first of all, it’s been determined that it’s not an illegal campaign contribution. It’s a personal expenditure,” he said.
The former mayor said that it is the “majority opinion of most, the commissioners, lawyers.”