NY prosecutor 'outside of his lane' with potential Trump indictment: Jonathan Turley
In this case, the district attorney is 'on a completely different highway,' claims constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley
After former President Trump shared a post on Truth Social alleging he will be arrested on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the former president clarified Trump has seen no "notification" — other than "illegal leaks" to the press — that he will be arrested next week.
While waiting for Tuesday to determine whether he will be indicted, constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley on Saturday responded to the claim and the potential indictment, slamming Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
"One would say Bragg is outside of his lane, but in this case, he's on a completely different highway," Turley said on "Fox & Friends Weekend," Saturday. "This is an effort by a state official to effectively prosecute a federal crime, a crime that the Department of Justice decided not to prosecute."
The potential indictment stems from the years-long investigation surrounding Trump's alleged hush money scandal involving porn star Stormy Daniels. Towards the end of the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump's then-lawyer Michael Cohen sent $130,000 to Daniels to prevent her from disclosing her 2006 affair with Trump. Trump reimbursed Cohen through installments.
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Reports surfaced that the Manhattan District Attorney's office is preparing to issue an indictment for alleged hush money payments Trump made as a presidential candidate in 2016.
Trump lashed out at the reports suggesting he would be arrested next week via his Truth Social app on Saturday morning, telling his supporters to "PROTEST, TAKE BACK OUR NATION."
"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!," Trump wrote.
A Trump spokesperson added clarification to the former president's Truth Social blast.
"There has been no notification, other than illegal leaks from the Justice Dept. and the DA’s office, to NBC and other fake news carriers, that the George Soros-funded Radical Left Democrat prosecutor in Manhattan has decided to take his Witch-Hunt to the next level. President Trump is rightfully highlighting his innocence and the weaponization of our injustice system," the spokesperson said, adding that the former president would be in Texas next weekend for a "giant rally."
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A court source told Fox News Digital that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office will meet with law enforcement to "discuss logistics for some time next week, which would mean that they are anticipating an indictment next week."
"You have the Manhattan D.A. taking a case to court that the Department of Justice declined to do so. And that raises some obvious questions," Turley said, echoing concerns that Bragg is pursuing the case for political reasons.
Turley noted there are a "number of flaws" in the case if an indictment is brought against Trump. One of the most obvious issues in the case will be proving the funds given to Daniels were paid with the election in mind.
"You have to show that that money was paid with the election solely in mind. There's obviously a lot of different reasons why a married man would want to hush up a scandal with a former stripper," Turley said.
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There is also the issue that the statute of limitations has run out.
"I think Bragg is out of time. The statute of limitations is about two years on this offense. That has already run," Turley explained. "You can extend it to five years if you connect it as a felony to another crime. Even at five years, I'm not sure the time has not run out. So there's going to be some very intense challenges here."
While the president has been under scrutiny and investigated for numerous issues, the potential indictment in New York has many questioning what role politics could be playing.
"The only reason I think we're seeing this case is that two of his prosecutors resigned. In my view, they acted really inappropriately. In the case of one of them who wrote a book about someone who wasn't even charged, let alone convicted. And that pressure finally found its mark with Bragg, and they bring this rather curious charge based on the falsification of state records and connecting it to an uncharged federal crime," Turley said.
As the 2024 presidential election looms, the potential indictment Tuesday could have further implications for the campaign season.
"Unless this case is dismissed because of one of these flaws, it is going to muck up the works. And it is unfortunate that we're already starting with this environment. This has the feeling of a thrill kill for many on the left, and they need to think seriously about what this implicates for the legal system," Turley said.
Turley cautioned Americans not to "assume" the "rule of law is dead" despite the unsavory circumstances.
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"I think we have to be careful not to just assume in the most inflammatory way that the rule of law is dead. This is not the first D.A. who has yielded to public pressure to bring a criminal charge."
Fox News' Kyle Morris, Marta Dhanis , Adam Sabes , Brandon Gillespie and Andrea Vacchiano contributed to this report.