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Joseph A. Hayden, Jr. Quoted in InsiderNJ Column, “Trump on the Brink”


Joseph A. Hayden, Jr., Chair of the Criminal Defense and Investigations practices at Pashman stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in InsiderNJ column, “Trump on the Brink.”  The column discusses the possible pending indictment of former President Donald J. Trump, which Hayden describes as “the least serious in the galaxy of Trump potential crimes.”  Hayden further notes,  “This may prompt [Attorney General Merrick] Garland to put things in high gear and put pedal to the metal.”

Standing at the edge of arrest by his own reckoning, former President Donald J. Trump faces the prospect of getting charged with a violation of the business records act, says InsiderNJ legal analyst Joe Hayden.

Maintaining false business records constitutes a misdemeanor, but if the defendant committed the act in furtherance of a felony and/or attempted to write it off as a legal expense, the former president could face sterner penalties if charged.

Trump might have also violated election law by failing to report the payment, says Hayden.

Trump tweeted that he expects the South District of New York to arrest him tomorrow (Tuesday) and urged his supporters to demonstrate as a counterweight to what the former president describes as a political witch hunt.

“Protest, take our nation back!” said Trump.

Hayden said the case concerns Trump’s alleged directive to his attorney Michael Cohen to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet during the 2016 presidential campaign about their alleged sexual encounter.

The New York Times reported that Cohen said he used his own money to pay Daniels $130,000, and emphasized that it was not a campaign contribution. He didn’t specifically rule out the possibility that Trump reimbursed him for the payment. In 2018, Trump acknowledged that Cohen represented him in the Daniels case. In addition, following Cohen’s 2018 conviction on charges of tax evasion and campaign finance violations, Trump said the payment to Daniels had nothing to do with campaign funds.

Sources say Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “has been presenting evidence to a grand jury about the payment, which came in the waning days of Trump’s 2016 campaign in exchange for Daniels’ silence about an affair she said she had with Trump a decade earlier,” according to Reuters.

Hayden described the prospective charges as “the least serious in the galaxy of Trump potential crimes.”

“It is less serious than the Georgia case, less serious than Mar-a-Lago and the classified documents, and less serious than the sedition conspiracy [in connection with Trump’s actions on Jan. 6th, 2001],” Hayden said.  “If the case survives a challenge and goes to a jury, there is a substantial chance the jury can obtain a conviction.”

Hayden described the delicate nature of the case as the equivalent of spinal surgery.

He questioned the basis for the Trump defense, noting that a lawyer – in this case Cohen – going rogue makes no sense, because he would never have advanced the money unless directed by a client, in this case Trump.

Of the possible pending indictment of the former president, “I believe it’s going to happen,” said Hayden. “Trump didn’t leak Tuesday unless he’s scared; unless he thinks it’s going to happen.”

Politically, “It could be a short term benefit for him if he can gin up the MAGA people and make it look like an old case and the Manhattan DA is piling on. A lot of people say private sexual conduct is their own business.”

The bigger implications though involve possible action by the feds and other arms of law enforcement in pursuing – and closing – the other cases pertaining to Trump. “This may prompt [Attorney General Merrick] Garland to put things into high gear and put the pedal to the metal.”


You can view the full article on InsiderNJ

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