Trump’s indictments are bigger than those of Stormy Daniels

In a criminal case, it is always essential for a prosecutor to explain to the jury the “why” of the accused’s criminal conduct. A juror will want to know why the defendant did what he did. About the former president Donald J. Trump, who was arraigned in a New York courtroom On Tuesday afternoon, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg used the Statement of Facts to do just that.

Reading the statement of facts, one can see an argument that Trump bought the 2016 election and, had it not been for his fraud scheme, he very well could have lost the Oval Office.

The felony indictment laid bare the plan of the 45th President of the United States to “defraud and commit another felony and aid and conceal his commission.” And how would he have committed these crimes? By making and provoking the “false entry in the commercial registers of a company”. According to the billing document, the 34 different instances of falsification of these business documents range from checks to pay forged legal invoices to false ledger entries in the books of the Trump Organization.

Right from the start, in the first paragraph of the 16-page indictment which lays out 34 counts of falsifying business documents, Bragg explains that Trump “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business documents to cover up criminal conduct that concealed information detrimental to voters during the presidential election of 2016”. After successfully suppressing this damaging information through silent payments and “catch and kill” deals with American Media Inc. (AMI), the parent company of The National Enquirer, Trump won the 2016 election and he went on to used various falsified business records to hide and mask his conduct.

Reading the statement of facts, one can see an argument that Trump bought the 2016 election and, had it not been for his fraud scheme, he very well could have lost the Oval Office. Consider the following timeline:

  • June 2015: Trump announces his candidacy for President of the United States.
  • August 2015: Trump, accompanied by Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer and “fixer”, and David Pecker, President and CEO of AMI, meet at Trump Tower in New York. They reach an agreement for Pecker to post negative stories about Trump’s competitors and be on the lookout for negative stories about Trump. They all agree that if these negative stories were to surface, then the National Enquirer would “catch them and kill them.”
  • October 2015: AMI, with $30,000 and a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), buys the silence of a former Trump Tower doorman who allegedly had information about a child Trump allegedly fathered out of wedlock.
  • June 2016: AMI and Cohen, with $150,000 and an NDA, buy the silence of Karen McDougal, who allegedly had an extramarital affair with Trump while he was married.
  • September 2016: Cohen secretly tapes Trump in a private conversation in Trump’s office in which they discuss how to get the money to McDougal. Cohen tells Trump that he and Allen Weisselberg, then chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, discussed the logistics of the win.
  • October 7, 2016: News of the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Trump is recorded telling TV host Billy Bush how he could sexually assault women by “grabbing them by the p—-” and other moves horrible and non-consensual.
  • October 27, 2016: Just days before the November 8, 2016 presidential election, Cohen, with $130,000 and an NDA, buys the silence of Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had extramarital sex with Trump while he was married.
  • November 2016: Trump wins the presidential election and frees Porter and McDougal from their NDAs.

This timeline of events exposed by Bragg, all involving Trump and allegedly done at his direction and for his benefit, clearly shows that Trump bought the silence of many people in order to win the 2016 election. In other words, Trump bought the Oval Office through his repeated payments of silent money to people who had damaging information about him that they were going to make public. These payments in themselves were not illegal and would not have triggered criminal exposure. But, according to Bragg’s indictment, Trump’s biggest, and criminal, problem is when he, with the help of Cohen, Weisselberg and others, and with the intention of hiding the true nature of these payments, falsified several commercial documents. If Trump didn’t have the financial wherewithal (which remains debatable to this day) to buy the Oval, there’s a very real possibility that he lost the election.

Trump’s immediate political future looked shaky and bleak after the Access Hollywood tape leaked. According to the slate, “The day after the tape was released, Mike Pence condemned what he had heard.” A report noted that Mike Pence had to pray over it with his wife, and several members of the Republican leadership pleaded with Trump to withdraw from the race. Even one of his future White House chiefs of staff, Reince Priebus, reportedly told Trump, “You have two choices. Either give up now or lose in the biggest landslide in American political history,” according to Steve Bannon. But how much worse Would it have been for Trump if the Trump Tower doorman, McDougal, and Daniels all came forward and spoke publicly about Trump’s transgressions before the election?

Given Trump’s history of two impeachments, multiple ongoing criminal and civil investigations, and now his first felony indictment (which is the first of many to come), Trump should ask himself if the intrigues and fraud were literally worth it.

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