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HomeNewsLegal Experts Condemn Trump’s New Hush-Money Trial Defense, Say It’s “Laughable”

Legal Experts Condemn Trump’s New Hush-Money Trial Defense, Say It’s “Laughable”

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Photo of Donald Trump appearing on CNN
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In his upcoming New York hush money trial, former President Donald Trump intends to assert that he is not culpable for any wrongdoing.

This is because lawyers were allegedly involved in the actions that led to his indictment, as revealed in a filing made public on Tuesday.

As per NBC News, attorneys representing the former president stated in the filing that a component of his defense strategy will be the assertion that he “lacked the necessary intent to engage in the conduct outlined in the indictment.”

“While President Trump intends to elicit evidence concerning the presence, involvement and advice of lawyers in relevant events giving rise to the charges in the Indictment, he does not intend to assert a formal advice-of-counsel defense,” his lawyers wrote.

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The filing responded to a directive from Judge Juan Merchan. It aimed to inform the Manhattan district attorney’s office by a specified deadline. Trump had previously indicated his intention to use the advice-of-counsel defense.

The district attorney’s office requested this notice because it could potentially be used as a defense. It would require disclosing additional details about Trump’s communications with his legal counsel.

Bennett Gershman, a law professor at Pace University, criticized Trump’s argument. He described it as “illogical, nonsensical, and laughable.” Gershman emphasized that the idea that having lawyers prevents one from committing crimes is flawed.

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“It’s not exactly clear what Trump is arguing,” he said, adding: “Is he arguing that because lawyers were involved, he did not or could not violate the law? That is a nonsensical argument. It’s a non sequitur. What lawyers is he referring to? Why would the presence of lawyers be a hindrance or obstacle to Trump committing crimes?”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought forth 34 felony charges against Trump in March. These charges accuse him of concealing a $130,000 payment made by his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to Stormy Daniels.

The payment aimed to prevent Daniels from disclosing a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump before the 2016 presidential election. Trump denied the encounter but admitted to repaying Cohen. He pleaded not guilty, with jury selection for the trial set to start on March 25.

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Gregory Germain, a law professor at Syracuse University, finds Bragg’s case against Trump unusual. Trump is charged with attempting to conceal a crime but not with committing the crime itself.

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“The district attorney has compelling evidence indicating that Trump attempted to conceal the payment,” Germain remarked. He added that the main weakness in the case lies in clarifying whether Trump’s motive for the cover-up was to conceal a campaign finance violation or to avoid personal or political embarrassment.

Prosecutors from Bragg’s office have accused Trump of falsifying records related to his payments to Cohen. Among the theories raised by the prosecution, two suggest that the hush money payments to Daniels constitute an illegal contribution to Trump’s campaign, violating federal and state election laws, as reported by Politico.

The third theory alleges that Trump intended to violate New York tax law by inflating and falsely characterizing the reimbursement to Cohen to manipulate its tax implications.

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