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Trump says prosecutor should resign, face charges

By Ben Marquis
|
April 4, 2023

It was widely reported over the weekend that the leaked grand jury information last week about a sealed criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump was itself a felony crime, with Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office being the most likely origin for the illegal leak.

That plus another leak-based report Monday with details from the sealed indictment prompted Trump to call for DA Bragg's immediate resignation and demand that Bragg "indict himself" over the illicit leaks of confidential grand jury information, the Daily Mail reported.

The Monday report claimed that Trump would face 34 felony counts once the indictment was unsealed at an arraignment hearing Tuesday afternoon, and also provided some of the secretive details about how that high-profile arraignment would be handled.

More leaked info about Trump charges, arraignment hearing

On Monday, Yahoo News investigative reporter Michael Isikoff – who played a crucial role in initially launching the false and unsubstantiated "Trump-Russia collusion" narrative in 2016 – shared in an article what he claimed to have learned from an unnamed source said to have been "briefed on the procedures for the arraignment of the former president."

The report asserted that former President Trump would be formally charged with 34 felony counts of falsification of business records believed to be related to the 2016 payoff of $130,000 in "hush money" to adult entertainer Stormy Daniels to silence her about an alleged 2006 affair.

The falsification of business records charge is typically a misdemeanor in New York, but has been elevated to a Class E felony crime by way of a tenuous allegation that the "hush money" payment was intended to cover up a separate alleged crime involving federal campaign finance law violations.

Those records falsification charges are related to allegations that Trump reimbursed former personal attorney Michael Cohen for the payoff of Daniels and inappropriately labeled the reimbursement payments as "legal expenses" instead of campaign contributions.

If convicted, Trump could reportedly face up to four years in prison – whether in total or per each count of falsifying business records is unclear – though it was duly noted that actual prison time for the former president would be highly unlikely.

Isikoff further reported that unlike in a normal arraignment hearing in a Manhattan courtroom, Trump would not be handcuffed or placed in a holding cell or have mug shots taken, largely because he poses very little threat of violence against the prosecutors and judge or of being a flight risk, given his protective detail of Secret Service agents.

Bragg should "indict himself" over illicit leak of grand jury information

In response to that report from Isikoff, former President Trump took to his Truth Social account Monday night and wrote, "Wow! District Attorney Bragg just illegally LEAKED the various points, and complete information, on the pathetic Indictment against me. I know the reporter and so, unfortunately, does he."

"This means that he MUST BE IMMEDIATELY INDICTED. Now, if he wants to really clean up his reputation, he will do the honorable thing and, as District Attorney, INDICT HIMSELF," Trump added. "He will go down in Judicial history, and his Trump Hating wife will be, I am sure, very proud of him!"

The Daily Mail noted that the last line of Trump's post about DA Bragg's "Trump-hating wife" was in reference to his spouse of 20 years, Jamila Ponton-Bragg, who Trump had previously called out in recent days for her previously prolific social media criticism of him and accused of pressuring her prosecutor husband to move forward with the criminal indictment that is widely viewed as being politically motivated.

"Bragg should resign, NOW!"

Former President Trump wasn't done yet, though, as he followed the above post to his Truth Social account with a follow-up post that said, "D.A. BRAGG JUST ILLEGALLY LEAKED THE 33 points of Indictment. There are no changes or surprises from those he leaked days ago directly out of the Grand Jury. No Crime by Trump."

"What a MESS. Bragg should resign, NOW!" he added.

Trump has long denied the alleged affair with Daniels and insisted that he has committed no wrongdoing in relation to her, and the Daily Mail noted that he is expected to plead not guilty to the criminal charges pressed by DA Bragg that will be fully unveiled during the Tuesday afternoon arraignment hearing.

Will this help or harm Trump's 2024 chances?

The former president is also anticipated to possibly speak publicly to any of his supporters who may gather in New York City in protest of the prosecution as well as to return to his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida after the arraignment and deliver a prepared speech to his supporters.

In the meantime, it will continue to be hotly debated whether this whole episode ultimately helps or hinders Trump's bid to reclaim the presidency for another term in the 2024 election.