OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump has responded to reports that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is preparing to indict him next week on allegations related to a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Reports said that Bragg’s office has been in contact with several law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, agents of whom are charged with protecting the former president, ahead of an expected indictment on Tuesday.
Trump took to his Truth Social platform to rip Bragg and his ongoing investigations into him and his companies.
“NOW ILLEGAL LEAKS FROM A CORRUPT & HIGHLY POLITICAL MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE, WHICH HAS ALLOWED NEW RECORDS TO BE SET IN VIOLENT CRIME & WHOSE LEADER IS FUNDED BY GEORGE SOROS, INDICATE THAT, WITH NO CRIME BEING ABLE TO BE PROVEN, & BASED ON AN OLD & FULLY DEBUNKED (BY NUMEROUS OTHER PROSECUTORS!) FAIRYTALE, THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” he said.
Interestingly, in regard to the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, should Trump try to fight extradition to New York, the decision, ultimately, would have to be made by his expected chief rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who has yet to officially declare his candidacy.
That said, there is no legal way for DeSantis to stop to the extradition of the former president, Insider reported.
“The indictment and the charges are not going to go away,” Florida attorney Tamara Holder said to Insider. “This is an early stage of a criminal proceeding, and it’s very important that you present yourself to the court early on as somebody who’s going to fight the case and not fight the extradition.”
“The governor doesn’t have the power to stop an extradition,” she said. “The governor’s only involvement is to look at the papers and make sure that the papers are proper to issue the warrant.”
Former Palm Beach prosecutor Dave Aronberg said something similar in an interview with CNN in 2021.
“The governor’s power to stop an extradition is really nonexistent,” he said. “He can try to delay it, he can send it to a committee and do research about it, but his role is really ministerial, and ultimately the state of New York can go to court and get an order to extradite the former president.”
“If there’s a fully voted indictment, they’re not gonna start investigating the underlying facts of the indictment to determine whether it was sufficient or not,” New York attorney Michael Bachner said. “Once there’s an indictment voted, it would be shocking that a judge would not order extradition. Trump knows that.”
Constitutional expert and Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley noted in a column published on Saturday that the alleged coming indictment will be a “made-for-TV” event that, in reality, is “legally pathetic.”
“‘The moment that we are waiting for, we made it to the finale together’ — those familiar words from ‘America’s Got Talent’ — could well be the opening line for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg next week, when he is expected to unveil an indictment of former President Trump,” Turley began.
“With Trump’s reported announcement that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday, it would be a fitting curtain raiser for a case that has developed more like a television production than a criminal prosecution. Indeed, this indictment was repeatedly rejected only to be brought back by popular demand,” he added.
“Trump faces serious legal threats in the ongoing Mar-a-Lago investigation. But the New York case would be easily dismissed outside of a jurisdiction like New York, where Bragg can count on highly motivated judges and jurors,” Turley noted, adding: “Although it may be politically popular, the case is legally pathetic.”
Bragg is facing difficulties in interpreting state laws in a manner that would enable him to successfully prosecute a federal case that the Justice Department had already dismissed against Trump concerning his payment of “hush money” to Daniels.
As far back as 2018, Turley said he had written about the challenges of pursuing such a federal case under existing election laws. Presently, six years later, the same theory may be forced to fit into a state claim, he noted.