UNITED STATES: Talks with the election law experts have revealed that an election law case was never filed by the prosecutors from New York State concerning a federal campaign. The case where the former US President compensated his lawyer Michael Cohen after he paid $130,000 to the porn star Stormy Daniels was taken by the Internal Trump organisations as a false expense that gave more protection to Trump and his associates. An indictment in New York would mark an extraordinary turn in American history, making Trump the first former president to face a criminal charge.
Misleading business records are criminal in New York. Handling matters involving such crimes has been a practice of the district attorney for a long time. Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney investigating Trump, took office in 2022, after which prosecutors have given out 117 felony counts of charges against 29 individuals and organisations.
Trump’s potential felony charge would mean Bragg’s prosecutors would have to show Trump as having “intent to fraud” by either committing or concealing a crime that might be a breach of election law. In light of his office using the federal election violation as a second crime, Trump’s lawyers could argue that the state court cannot comment on federal laws. Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, states, “Generally, someone can’t be prosecuted for violating a contribution limit in a federal election in a state court.”
However, there are federal pre-exemptions that are regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), whereas other laws, 17-152, make it difficult to elect a candidate by “unlawful means”.
Jerry H. Goldfeder, a special counsel at Stroock and Lavan LLP and also an expert in New York state election law, mentions, “It appears that this provision, which prohibits unlawfully promoting an election, could fit into one of the FEC exceptions.”
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