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Law professors divided on whether Trump indictment politically motivated

Following the indictment and arraignment of former President Donald Trump for allegedly falsifying business records in connection to hush-money payments, law professors across the nation have voiced differing opinions on whether it was politically motivated and legally sound.

But one thing they all agree on: It’s history in the making.

Hofstra University law Professor James Sample called the indictment “historic in every respect” in an interview with Sky News Australia, but rejected the idea that New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecution of Trump is politically motivated.

“This is not a case of someone being singled out because of the prominence of the defendant, but rather, it is a case of the prominence of the defendant not thwarting the rule of law being applied equally to everyone,” Sample said.

Other prominent law scholars disagree.

Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, and Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University, have publicly condemned Bragg’s indictment of the former president.

In an interview on April 5, Dershowitz called the charges “absurd” and questioned the validity of the case against the former president and current Republican candidate for president of the United States.

“I challenge you to come up with a single case in the history of the New York DA’s office, in which a person was indicted for failing to disclose on a corporate form,” Dershowitz told The National Desk’s Scott Thuman, highlighting the unprecedented nature of the charges.

Professor Turley echoed Dershowitz’s sentiment, arguing the indictment is “legally pathetic” during a recent appearance on Fox News.

“It’s a raw political prosecution,” Turley said.

However, some legal scholars have come out in defense of Bragg’s prosecution.

American University law Professor Allan Lichtman criticized opponents of the prosecution, telling Yahoo Finance the charges against Trump will “rise and fall on the strength of the evidence, not on Donald Trump’s bluster.”

Commenting on the procedural aspect of the indictment and arraignment, UNLV law Professor Joshua Kastenberg said the New York district attorney’s office was doing their best to preserve the integrity of the legal process amid controversy.

“I think they did the best they could, or that any jurisdiction could, in that regard,” Katsenberg said in a recent interview.

Katsenberg added that during Trump’s arraignment, “there were a few nuanced differences than the norm, but I don’t think those differences undermine the integrity of the process at all.”

Kastenberg did not respond to a request from The College Fix seeking comment.

Like Kastenberg, Temple University law Professor Craig Green did not criticize Bragg’s effort to prosecute Trump, but did note the difficulty of upholding the integrity of the legal process amid an “unprecedented” indictment.

“Every layer of the politics is completely unprecedented. And it is a real test for the legal system, whether ordinary legal processes can move forward in the presence of such extraordinary outside circumstances,” Green told WHYY, a Philadelphia NPR affiliate.

Green did not respond to a request from The College Fix seeking comment.

Former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and National Review columnist Andy McCarthy pushed back on claims that the prosecution is legitimate, identifying what he considers to be serious flaws with the indictment.

“I kind of don’t understand why this hasn’t been more of a thing, but what Bragg is alleging is that Trump took a series of actions to defraud the voting public in connection with the 2016 election. The indictment then goes forward with all these counts that begin on February 14, 2017, and continue until December 5 of 2017. That’s all months after the 2016 election,” McCarthy noted on Fox News.

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About the Author
College Fix contributor David Glasser is a student at Florida State University studying political science and economics. He will be starting law school in late 2023.