'Prosecuting Trump would be easy': Legal experts pan NYT report claiming it would be a challenge

'Prosecuting Trump would be easy': Legal experts pan NYT report claiming it would be a challenge

Legal experts disputed the premise of a New York Times report published online under the headline, "Despite Growing Evidence, a Prosecution of Trump Would Face Challenges."

"If the Justice Department were to bring a case against him, prosecutors would face the challenge of showing that he knew — or should have known — that his position was based on assertions about widespread election fraud that were false or that his attempt to block the congressional certification of the outcome was illegal," wrote Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman.

The two wrote, "continued stream of falsehoods highlights some of the complexities of pursuing any criminal case against him, despite how well established the key facts are at this point."

Some legal experts, however, disagree.

Mimi Rocah, the Rochester County district attorney who previously worked as a federal prosecutor, wrote, "In other words - what federal prosecutors need to prove in every single fraud case across this country every single day. (And what’s the federal conviction rate for fraud cases again?)"

Former federal prosecutor Richard Signorelli, who also was a Southern District of New York federal prosecutor, replied, "98% conviction rate."

The Department of Justice says, "In 2021, the Fraud Section continued to investigate and prosecute important and impactful cases. Despite the ongoing challenges caused by the pandemic, 42 Fraud Section prosecutors tried 23 cases in 18 federal districts and secured convictions of 30 individuals at trial. In sum, in 2021 we charged and convicted over 300 individuals and entered into 8 corporate resolutions."

Prominent appellate litigator Ted Boutrous said, "Prosecuting Trump would be easy."

The article raised a question for former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance.

"Is there really anyone who legit thinks that if the people vote one way but the loser wants to stay in power, his VP can just wave a magic wand and ignore the votes of millions of Americans to declare him the winner?" she wondered.

"His circle needs to be charged first," wrote Signorelli. "Some will flip to save themselves & could provide important evidence."

The article also received journalistic criticism.

"Honestly I’m not sure I’ve ever read a more utterly bankrupt article than this in my life. 'his continued stream of falsehoods highlights some of the complexities of pursuing any criminal case against him'????? This thinking would have exonerated Hitler," wrote press critic Dan Froomkin.

"On a personal note, I went on a lovely pre-father’s day fishing expedition today and was feeling so relaxed and even positive until I opened my browser to the goddamned NYT home page. Now I am screaming inside," he added.

Andrew Barker, who writes for Variety, wondered if reform might be necessary.

"The guy who used to have the most powerful job on earth committed a whole bunch of crimes, but we don’t know if we can prove he was smart enough to know they were crimes. Meanwhile, he’s applying for the job again. Perfect system," he wrote.


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