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Massachusetts Man Faces Prosecution for Defending Himself from Violent, Anti-Republican Attacker



A justice scale and American flag

Author Shawn Fleetwood profile




By now, most Americans have heard of Daniel Penny, the Marine Corps veteran being charged by Manhattan’s Democrat district attorney for defending his fellow citizens from an erratic Jordan Neely on the New York City subway. There’s also a good chance they’ve heard of Daniel Perry, the Army sergeant recently convicted in Austin, Texas, for protecting himself from an armed Black Lives Matter demonstrator.

On their own merits, both cases represent a seemingly growing trend of Democrat prosecutors allowing violent criminals to walk free while punishing law-abiding Americans for defending themselves from horrendous acts of violence. Case in point: Kevin Mackie, an Acton, Massachusetts, resident charged for allegedly protecting himself from a violent, anti-Republican attacker.

What Happened

On July 8, 2022, Mackie was among several individuals to participate in a demonstration outside of Acton’s Discovery Museum. The purported purpose of the gathering was to protest the facility’s role in giving Covid shots to children.

In a March 2022 “update,” Museum CEO Neil Gordon announced the organization had partnered with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services to “host six days of public COVID-19 vaccination clinics for kids ages 5 to 11.” According to Gordon, “[m]ore than 650 vaccine doses were administered,” with each jabbed child receiving “two free Museum admission passes as a sweetener.” Notably, the museum requires individuals seeking employment with the organization to show “proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.”

“We think that it’s just wrong for a museum to exchange services for vaccinations,” protestor Michelle Efendi told The Federalist. In addition to founding the Neighborhood Admins Resilience Network — a coalition of Facebook Groups supporting community preparedness and response — Efendi is a community organizer with experience in emergency management. It’s worth mentioning that Efendi does not describe herself as a Republican and has previously campaigned for Democrat presidential candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Upon arriving at the Discovery Museum, Efendi, Mackie, and their fellow demonstrators were confronted by several individuals — at least one of whom was a Discovery Museum faculty member — who wanted them to leave the area. Shortly after arriving, the protestors were confronted by local resident Frederick Smith, who, as documented in footage obtained by The Federalist, appears to assault Mackie and rip apart his protest sign. Mackie allegedly hit Smith with his megaphone “four times” in response.

Following this initial contact, videos reviewed by The Federalist show Smith pushing Mackie toward the ground into some nearby shrubs. After regaining his balance, Smith is documented grabbing the sign strapped over the front of Efendi’s shoulders, at which point Mackie discharged pepper spray into Smith’s face. Mackie sprayed Smith in the face again after the latter latched on to Efendi’s wrist and refused to let go.

Upon releasing Efendi, Smith proceeded towards Mackie’s broken sign, pulled out the sign’s four-foot-long PVC pipe, and used it to hit Mackie. Smith also swung at Efendi — barely missing her face — and another protestor before finally walking away. In pain from the pepper spray, Smith called 911 and was taken into police custody.

“I’ve never seen … or experienced anything like [that],” Efendi said. “It was actually really scary what he did.”

A deeper dive into Smith’s background reveals a history of animosity towards people with conservative viewpoints. Hours after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, for example, Smith claimed on Facebook there “are no good [R]epublicans” and that “[w]e should not attempt to ‘bridge’ any division [because Republicans] are a virus that this country needs to expel.”

“We will never convince [Republicans] that they are better served by progressive policies — they are wholly irredeemable,” Smith wrote. Several days later, on Jan. 10, Smith equated the GOP to “Nazis” while celebrating Amazon Web Services’ decision to remove Parler —a free speech social media platform predominately used by conservatives — from its web hosting service.

Other posts by Smith suggest he was a strict adherent of the federal government’s Covid-era policies and recommendations.

The Charges and Ongoing Litigation

After reviewing the available evidence and conducting interviews with various witnesses, the Acton Police Department requested Mackie be charged with trespassing, assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The department additionally recommended Efendi and two other protestors be charged with trespassing.

A complaint was also sought against Smith on numerous counts, including assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and disorderly conduct.

While the trespassing charges considered for Efendi and the two other demonstrators were ultimately not pursued, Mackie is still facing prosecution from the office of Marian Ryan, the Democratic district attorney of Middlesex County. If convicted on the assault and battery charge alone, Mackie could face up to 10 years in state prison. Meanwhile, Smith cut a deal with Marian’s office to have all his charges dropped in exchange for several months of pretrial probation and participation in anger management classes. The judge presiding over the case approved the deal last February.

“When it comes to dissent or any kind of protesting that’s not for leftist causes, they will arrest you, and they will prosecute you no matter what,” Mackie’s lawyer, Ilya Feoktistov, told The Federalist. “There is a major … double standard of criminal justice when it comes to protesting in Massachusetts. If you protest for the wrong cause … there will be a case manufactured against you.”

While Feoktistov criticized all the charges against Mackie, he specifically noted how the trespassing charge falls flat, given that the location of the protest was on public grounds.

“There’s an easement that was signed in 2016 by the museum in [Acton] that allows the town to use the sidewalk outside their building,” Feoktistov said. A copy of the easement provided to The Federalist indicates that this is true.

Legal Shenanigans

In their attempt to prosecute Mackie, Ryan’s prosecutorial team has purportedly engaged in several legal shenanigans. Feoktistov claims Ryan’s office violated the pretrial conference report, which includes, for example, a list of witnesses both parties agree to ahead of trial. This is done to allow both parties time to prepare for cross-examination. Ryan’s office allegedly violated the pretrial agreement by “calling an additional witness to testify” after “consistently represent[ing] to the Court and Mr. Mackie that the Commonwealth’s only evidence at trial would be testimony from the cross-complaint defendant, who would be exercising his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.”

“The Commonwealth did not serve any witness list on Mr. Mackie. On January 23, 2023, however, the Commonwealth informed Mr. Mackie’s attorney that an eyewitness who had originally declined to testify for the Commonwealth will be testifying after all,” an emergency motion to continue trial filed by Mackie’s attorneys reads. “As a result, Attorney Feoktistov has not had sufficient time to investigate and prepare Mr. Mackie’s case to go forward on January 26, 2023.”

In a memo filed in opposition to Feoktistov’s motion to dismiss the charges against Mackie, Ryan’s office attempted to make it appear as if Mackie was the aggressor in the situation and not Smith. In their memo, the prosecutors claim Mackie was the one who “escalated the altercation by discharging his pepper spray directly into Mr. Smith’s face” and that the “level of aggression between [the] two parties differs drastically, which renders the claim that they are similarly situated Defendants invalid.”

Feoktistov’s motion to dismiss was denied seemingly without reason by the Concord District Court last month.

Ryan’s History of Prosecutorial Misconduct

Mackie’s case is hardly the only one where Ryan’s legal team has seemingly engaged in unethical behavior. In fact, the Middlesex DA’s office has a documented history of withholding exculpatory evidence in several notable cases.

The first of such instances involved Aisling Brady McCarthy, a nanny accused in 2013 of murdering the 1-year-old for whom she provided care. According to The Boston Globe, McCarthy was charged by Ryan’s office after Alice Newton, a prosecution medical expert, “concluded … the 1-year-old had suffered injuries, including severe bleeding in the back of the eyes, which indicated abusive head trauma, also known as shaken baby syndrome.” This resulted in McCarthy being placed in jail without bail.

In August 2013, Ryan’s office consulted with eye specialist Dr. Alex Levin on whether injuries to the baby’s eyes indicated some form of abuse. According to the Globe, Levin was “hesitant” to conclude the baby was abused, telling prosecutors he “found less severe retinal hemorrhaging, and repeatedly raised the possibility that the baby’s injuries might have been caused by something other than abuse.” Despite prosecutors’ obligation to share such information with McCarthy’s legal team, Ryan’s office sat on it for over a year, even after defense attorneys, “who learned of Levin’s work by happenstance, asked for it repeatedly.”

It wasn’t until the judge presiding over the case ordered Ryan’s office in January 2015 to turn over notes taken during their conversations with Levin was the information then disclosed to the defense. McCarthy, who had been in jail for over two years, had her sentence reduced and was released in May that same year. Charges were ultimately dropped on August 31, 2015.

A similar instance occurred in the case of Geoffrey Wilson, a father charged by Ryan’s office with shaking his infant son to death. While initially ruled a homicide, the case’s medical examiner reportedly told prosecutor Katharine Folger in a September 2013 email that he “wanted to change his homicide finding.” While the examiner would not officially do so until August 2014, he claimed Ryan’s office “attempted to pressure him into sticking with his original homicide finding.” The charges were eventually dropped after it was disclosed the baby died from natural causes.

It’s worth mentioning that Ryan’s office has been criticized by the U.S. Supreme Court for its reckless prosecutions, specifically by Justice Samuel Alito in the court’s 2016 Caetano v. Massachusetts decision.

Shawn Fleetwood is a Staff Writer for The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood


Whistleblowers Expose FBI’s Corruption And Ongoing Persecution Of Political Opponents In Damning New Testimony



FBI Whistleblower Friend testifying before the House Judiciary Committee

Author Shawn Fleetwood profile




In an explosive House committee hearing on Thursday, several whistleblowers accused the FBI of engaging in a bevy of highly corrupt and partisan activity, including manipulation of statistics, targeting political opponents, and retaliating against whistleblowers seeking to expose the agency’s corruption. The revelations come days after a report from U.S. Attorney John Durham revealed the FBI had no evidence then-candidate Donald Trump colluded with the Russians when it launched its Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the former president’s 2016 campaign.

While speaking before the House Judiciary Committee, former FBI special agent Steve Friend said he filed protected whistleblower disclosures in August 2022 over concerns he had regarding investigations assigned to his office over the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot. More specifically, Friend was concerned the conduction of these inquiries represented a departure from proper “case management rules established in the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide” and that such actions “could have undermined potentially righteous prosecutions and may have been part of an effort to inflate the FBI’s statistics on domestic extremism.”

“I also voiced concerns that the FBI’s use of SWAT and large-scale arrest operations to apprehend suspects who were accused of nonviolent crimes and misdemeanors, represented by counsel, and who pledged to cooperate with the federal authorities in the event of criminal charges created an unnecessary risk to FBI personnel and public safety,” Friend said. “At each level of my chain of command, leadership cautioned that despite my exemplary work performance, whistleblowing placed my otherwise bright future with the FBI at risk.”

Despite purportedly following proper whistleblower protocol, Friend said the FBI quickly retaliated against him by weaponizing the security clearance process to remove him from active duty “within one month” of filing his disclosures. According to Friend, the agency then orchestrated a “campaign of humiliation and intimidation” designed to “punish and pressure [him] to resign,” which included leaking his private medical information to The New York Times, refusing to “furnish [his] training records for several months,” and imposing an “illegal gag order” to prevent him from “communicating with [his] family and attorneys.”

In addition to retaliation, Friend went on to accuse the FBI of weaponizing process crimes and reinterpreting laws in order to “initiate pretextual prosecutions and persecute its political enemies.” He also asserted the agency actively colludes with Big Tech platforms to censor political speech the regime disagrees with, gather intelligence on Americans, and “target citizens for malicious prosecution.”

During his testimony, Garret O’Boyle, a U.S. Army combat veteran and former FBI special agent, chronicled his own experience with the FBI’s disdain for whistleblowers. At some point after filing a whistleblower disclosure over concerns the agency was being used to go after the regime’s political opponents, O’Boyle sought another position within the country, which the FBI approved of. According to O’Boyle, it was only after he had sold his home and moved his family “halfway across the country” did the FBI then suspend him.

“They allowed us to sell my family’s home. They ordered me to report to the new unit when our youngest daughter was only two weeks old. Then, on my first day on the new assignment, they suspended me; rendering my family homeless and refused to release our household goods, including our clothes, for weeks,” O’Boyle said.

[READ: The Durham Report Leaves No Doubt: The FBI Is A Mortal Threat To Democracy]

Marcus Allen, a former Marine and FBI staff operations specialist, also testified about his experience with the FBI’s politicization, particularly its attempts to destroy the lives and careers of those within its ranks with dissenting views. As part of his position, Allen was tasked with providing situational awareness and information regarding the Jan. 6 riot. After submitting information to his superiors and others that questioned “the narrative” of Jan. 6, however, Allen was accused of pushing “conspiratorial views” and “unreliable information.” The FBI subsequently suspended Allen in January 2022 and questioned his allegiance to the United States.

According to Allen, it wasn’t until five months later, after a congressional member “made statements indicating the FBI was conducting a purge of employees with conservative viewpoints,” did the FBI reach out seeking an interview. Much like Friend, Allen claims his security clearance was revoked after he filed his whistleblower complaint.

“It has been more than a year since the FBI took my paycheck from me. My family and I have been surviving on early withdrawals from our retirement accounts while the FBI has ignored my request for approval to obtain outside employment during the review of my security clearance,” Allen said. “We have lost our federal health insurance coverage. There is apparently no end in sight.”

Predictably, House Democrats used Thursday’s hearing to slander the whistleblowers to cover for the FBI’s authoritarianism. In one instance, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., attempted to equate Friend’s calls to “defund the FBI” due to its weaponized behavior with support for defunding law enforcement. The Florida Democrat also accused Friend of using Thursday’s hearing to promote his upcoming book — which Friend never mentioned — and attacked the former agent for his concerns over the FBI’s use of excessive force during certain arrests.

In his prior testimony, Friend detailed a case where the FBI planned to use a SWAT team to carry out an arrest warrant on a Jan. 6 “subject.” According to Friend, he was concerned over the use of such tactics because “the subject of the arrest warrant had been in communication with the FBI at that point and had expressed a willingness to cooperate.”

“[I]n my experience in dealing with subjects of crimes and bringing them into custody, the FBI tends to use the least amount of force necessary to do that safely, and I felt that the use of SWAT … was an unnecessary tool to use for that particular individual,” Friend said. Of course, Wasserman Schultz misconstrued Friend’s testimony to make it sound as if he sympathized with the Jan. 6 subject and other suspected criminals upon whom arrest warrants are issued.

A House Judiciary Committee report containing the whistleblowers’ aforementioned allegations and prior testimony can be found here.

If you did not know these were FBI agents, and only heard their testimony, you might conclude this was testimony of people in communist nations, or Hitler’s Germany. I don’t know about you folks, this is frightenly madding. we’ve got to vote these socialists out as soon as possible.

Shawn Fleetwood is a Staff Writer for The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood

Democrats’ Banana-Republic Persecution Of Donald Trump Must Meet A Republican Response

BY: TOM CRIST | MARCH 22, 2023


Donald Trump
This is the equivalent of a nationally televised jaywalking arrest to humiliate a person due solely to personal hate.

Author Tom Crist profile



American media has bombarded us daily from all directions to make sure we know that Donald Trump indirectly paid a woman to shut her mouth as she and her now-convict lawyer, Michael Avenatti, shook him down for money.

In New York, false financial accounting can be a low-level misdemeanor, but it’s rarely prosecuted. Now Alvin Bragg, a municipal prosecutor, is trying to make a name for himself by charging former President Trump with that crime.

This is the equivalent of a nationally televised jaywalking arrest to humiliate a person due solely to personal hate. George Soros, Bragg’s benefactor, must be grinning from ear to ear.

Hillary Clinton Got Off For a Worse Deed

Trump’s former lawyer accounted for the payment as consulting or attorney’s fees. Allegedly, so did President Trump, and $130,000 changed hands.

For perspective, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee paid $1 million for the infamous fictional “Steele dossier.” They paid for this using one of the Democratic Party’s most prominent lawyers, Marc Elias, as a cutout to hide who was paying for this opposition research that falsely claimed Trump was colluding with Russia.

They then laundered the dossier through various contacts to try to destroy Trump and get Clinton elected president. Those people officially accounted for the $1 million dossier expense as “legal fees.”  So, one side paid people to lie. The other paid someone not to lie, or at least not to speak.

Clinton lives in New York, the state in which Trump is likely to be charged over a $130,000 payment. She has not been charged for the $1 million payment. Do these events really sound vastly different to you?

Bragg hopes to spin that unserious charge into a federal campaign finance violation. Meanwhile, the dossier fraud, which affected two presidential elections and two presidential impeachments, was settled with a $113,000 fine.

Bragg’s Case Is a Mess

City prosecutors cannot charge people with federal crimes. Only feds can charge federal crimes, not some city prosecutor. Bragg has allegedly met with the Secret Service about how they will react to a New York City police officer approaching President Trump with handcuffs (if they can find one who will do it). Bragg is way over his head and wading into deep political waters.

New York Attorney General Tish James ran for office almost exclusively on a “get Trump” platform. She hated the man and promised to find a crime he committed, rather than responding to a crime and looking for a perpetrator. After years of not finding anything, she did not charge Trump with any crimes. Same state. Same New York laws. More investigative tools. Yet she passed on the opportunity to arrest a president.

The U.S. Department of Justice investigated the same alleged crime and also chose not to prosecute. Every prosecutor in the state above Bragg’s office passed on this one knowing they could not prove President Trump committed a crime. Or they realized that no serious person could charge Trump and not also indict Democrats.

Bragg is the same Manhattan DA who has publicly decriminalized crimes in the name of wokeness. This alleged prosecutor will ignore criminal violence and release people on their own recognizance after a stern talking to for beating someone half to death or attacking police. But he wants to charge Trump for this garbage after every one of his superiors has declined to do so. Why? Incompetence? Tunnel vision? Irrational hate? Why choose?

Democrats’ Hate Could Prompt a Constitutional Crisis

Many Democrats want Trump arrested for anything. They want to see him in cuffs more than they want their own kids to be happy and healthy. They have been searching for someone stupid or reckless enough to “perp walk” the man for the cameras. They might very well have found him. If Bragg does it over this fluff, it will prove to be a poor career choice for him and could have much broader implications that are rungs above his pay grade.

Some Dems even want conservatives to riot if a cop cuffs Trump, just like a lack of security made it easy for people to barge into the Capitol through open doors just to be charged and arrested. They might get their wish. And it is likely a trap. If it happens and people protest, see whether New York City will give them all “room to vent” like city officials gave lefty rioters for months. Hopefully, any protests will be peaceful. I will not be involved in any of it.

A lot of people continue to be surprised at these events and have truly had enough of the second set of rules for conservatives. If the hard left keeps pushing this kind of thing, it will eventually be deeply sorry.

Feds raided Trump’s house with a tactical team over papers a librarian wanted. Oddly, CNN was present and ran the story on a loop. Joe Biden dropped 50 years of classified documents all over the country and the feds let his personal lawyers (who lacked security clearances) sort them before giving them to the government at their leisure.

They investigate Trump from all sides. They give Biden a pass on everything. The feds investigated Trump’s sons and son-in-law for any irregularity. Yet Hunter Biden, a man in a long line of alleged Biden bag men, lives in a $40,000-per-month Malibu beach house and sells splatter paintings to anonymous purchasers for exorbitant amounts.

Wildly Unequal Legal Treatment

Everyone is supposed to just sit back and accept the different treatment and think it is okay and normal. This is far from normal—it is a thumb in the eye of half the American population.

Even apparently peaceful Jan. 6, 2021 protestors have been in pre-trial detention for two years. Black Lives Matter and Antifa got carte blanch to riot and burn courthouses with impunity with at least tacit support from the White House and open support from the vice president, who encouraged people to donate money to bail the rioters out of jail.

Firebomb a pro-life crisis pregnancy center and take credit for it, and Biden’s inept AG will give you a pass. Pray in front of an abortion clinic and you will be charged with a list of felonies. This is not sustainable. People, in large numbers, will eventually stop taking it.

The Acceleration of Dangerous Trends

In accordance with their oaths, prosecutors are not supposed to charge people with crimes they cannot prove, since doing so can ruin people’s lives even if they are eventually acquitted. The citizenry remembers the charge, not the acquittal.

Likewise, presidents are not supposed to issue executive orders they know will be overturned as unlawful, just for political gain and show. Both have been happening for the last two years at a clip never before encountered. Team Biden is daring half the country. Stand up, but do not take the bait.

Many think Bragg will charge Trump soon because he can. These people might not be ready for the fallout they will provoke. And by that, I do not mean violence. I mean turnabout.

Republicans may politically finally address Democratic Party lawfare, taking an eye for an eye. Some have recently shown backbone their predecessors lacked. Their voters will increasingly elect officials who promise to do so. Trump himself was a harbinger of this.

Republicans Need to Respond, Good and Hard

If Bragg pulls the proverbial trigger, everyone had better be really sure about his next moves. Bragg and his upstream cronies will not be able to take it back, apologize, call for calm, or put that leftist authoritarian genie back in the bottle.

If they think they are right and their ideas the best, Democrats should square up and try to beat at the polls whomever the Republican candidate is in 2024. Another round of transparent politically driven rigging, especially like this, after the ridiculous failures of their impeachment efforts and Jan. 6 show trials, will light a dangerous fuse for which the American people have lost patience.

Most countries that fail to address unequal treatment start dying from within. Every American should want to avoid that for all our sakes. Bragg staying out of presidential politics and focusing on the skyrocketing violent crime rate in his own backyard would be a welcome next step.

When Republicans take the White House, they should make sure prosecutors at every level have every resource and unclassified document they require to investigate and, if mandated, charge everyone on team leftist. No letting things slide. If the Dems want old-fashioned dirty politics, the other side might finally give it to them good, hard, and thoroughly.

Thomas Crist is a husband, father, lawyer, and political conservative who loves his country and despises all myopic hypocrisy regardless of its source.

Indicting Trump Will Usher In America’s Banana-Republic Stage



Donald Trump
The move to indict a former president for the first time in our country’s history will make political prosecutions the new norm in America.

Author Margot Cleveland profile




A Manhattan grand jury appears poised to indict Donald Trump, according to news reports and the former president himself. Here’s what you need to know to understand the chatter about the anticipated criminal charges against Trump—and why the move to indict a former president for the first time in our country’s history will make political prosecutions the new norm in America.

While only the grand jury and prosecutors know for certain what charges against Trump, if any, are being considered, the consensus is that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, a Democrat, is pursuing a criminal case against Trump for allegedly falsifying business records, in violation of Sections 175.05 and 175.10 of the New York Penal Code.

Section 175.05 provides “a person is guilty of falsifying business records in the second degree when, with the intent to defraud, he makes or causes a false entry in the business records of an enterprise.” Falsifying business records in the second degree is a misdemeanor, subject to a two-year statute of limitations.

A violation of Section 175.10, however, is a felony, subject to a five-year statute of limitations. That section defines the offense of falsifying business records in the first degree and provides that if a person falsifies business records with the “intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission” of another crime, the offense is one in the first degree.

The underlying factual theory for charging the former president rests on Trump allegedly causing the Trump Organization to falsely report payments made to Michael Cohen in 2017 as “legal expenses,” when the money instead reimbursed (and then some) Cohen for the $130,000 payment he made to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election to keep the pornography performer from publicly claiming she had sex with Trump a decade earlier. In total, the Trump Organization reported legal expenses of $420,000 paid to Cohen in 2017, at a monthly rate of $35,000. Cohen, however, had provided no legal services for the Trump Organization that year.

To bump what would be a misdemeanor under New York law to a felony, pundits are suggesting the D.A. will argue Trump caused the Trump Organization to falsify its business records to conceal the commission of one or more federal election crimes. The Manhattan prosecutor, however, might also advance the theory that Trump caused the Trump Organization to falsely report the payments with the intent of committing tax fraud.

Even before reaching the merits of the legal theories being bandied about to charge Trump criminally, a public suspicious of the Get-Trump attitude seen over the last seven years will notice the statute of limitations seems to bar Bragg’s prosecution of Trump. But Bragg has two ways to sidestep the two- and five-year statutory time limits.

First, if Bragg charges Trump with a felony, the longer five-year period applies. While more than five years have passed since the Trump Organization last recorded a “legal expense” to Cohen, New York’s former governor, Andrew Cuomo, by executive order extended the statute of limitations for one year (or thereabouts) due to Covid-19. That tolling would make a felony indictment against Trump timely.

Alternatively, because New York law provides that any time a defendant remains “continuously outside” of the state is excluded from the statutory period, an indictment against Trump would be timely. From late January 2017 on, Trump was “continuously outside” New York, first in D.C. and then in Florida, meaning the statute of limitations only ran those few times Trump was in New York. That isn’t even close to the two years necessary for the misdemeanor statute of limitations to expire, much less the five-year period applicable to felony offenses.

So, the statute of limitations won’t likely bar one or more falsifying business records counts. But what about the merits?

Cohen already pleaded guilty to federal charges related to his payments to Stormy Daniels. But to convict Trump on the anticipated state charges, the Manhattan prosecutor would need to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump (1) caused the Trump Organization to falsify its business records (2) “with the intent to defraud.”

From public reporting, it appears Cohen is a star witness for the prosecution, likely testifying Trump directed him to make the payments to silence Daniels and promising reimbursement from the Trump Organization. Whether a paper trail supports Cohen’s testimony is unclear, but without one, it will be Cohen’s word—the word of a convicted felon—crucial to establish the crime.

Cohen’s testimony also already appears under fire. A “former legal advisor to Cohen,” Robert Costello, reportedly testified before the grand jury on Monday, “solely to undermine” Cohen’s credibility.

But prosecutors will need to prove more than that Trump caused the Trump Organization to falsify its business records. They will need to establish he also had the “intent to defraud.” Here, the defense can easily counter that Trump’s intent was to avoid embarrassment to his family caused by what he claims is a lie, rather than to “defraud” anyone.

Should prosecutors nonetheless prove their case, it is only a misdemeanor, unless they can further establish Trump intended “to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission” of another crime. Proving either will be even more challenging.

First, to establish Trump intended to conceal a violation of federal election law, the Manhattan D.A. would need to prove Trump had committed an election-law crime. While Cohen alleged paying off Daniels to advance Trump’s electoral chances, Trump has another justification, namely avoiding any embarrassment for himself and his family, that does not run afoul of federal election law.

Proving Trump intended to commit tax fraud would likely be a difficult case to prove as well, with prosecutors needing to establish Trump’s knowledge of the intricacies of the corporation’s tax filings to show he held the requisite intent.

This inside-the-law analysis reveals an exceedingly weak case, but that is only a fraction of what the public will care about. On top of the questionable charges, the general public will see a man hounded for seven years with false claims of Russia collusion and other supposed crimes. They will see a statute of limitations that on its face appears to have run. And they will see a local prosecutor pushing charges previously rejected by a federal U.S. attorney.

Then there was the public pressure placed on Bragg to indict Trump, best exemplified by the backlash he faced after he apparently backed off charging the former president for crimes supposedly connected to the Trump Organization’s finances. At the time, “two prosecutors quit his office,” and “one of the prosecutors, Mark Pomerantz, wrote a highly critical book that the media has celebrated.”

In short, the public will see a vindictive political prosecution of Trump.

Maybe there will be a time to charge a president or a former president with a crime, but the facts here do not support making that leap. While D.A. Bragg and those pushing for Trump’s indictment may seek cover behind the well-worn American proposition that “no one is above the law,” the corollary is equally important: Our political enemies are not targeted for prosecution.

Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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