Ankush Khardori, a former federal prosecutor, is the go-to guy for New York media when commenting on various Trump cases and he makes a sensible point about DA Alvin Bragg’s effort to make himself famous with the worthless Trump indictment.
Democrats currently cheering the charges against Mr. Trump may feel differently if — or when — a Democrat, perhaps even President Biden, ends up on the receiving end of a similar effort by any of the thousands of prosecutors elected to local office, eager to make a name for themselves by prosecuting a former president of the United States.
The vast range, breadth and diversity of criminal laws throughout the country provide plenty of opportunity for mischief. As the attorney general and future justice Robert Jackson observed more than 80 years ago, “A prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone.” He added, “It is not a question of discovering the commission of a crime and then looking for the man who has committed it; it is a question of picking the man and then searching the law books or putting investigators to work to pin some offense on him.”
…elected prosecutors in large Republican locales could find similarly creative ways to target the family of a Democratic president, particularly if the president, his spouse or another family member has national or international business and financial dealings in the state. Florida and Texas, for instance, have broad criminal laws on the books that prohibit forms of financial and business improprieties, including criminal fraud statutes that a prosecutor could claim were violated if there is even a suggestion that a president misled someone in the state during a financial transaction or that a president used a financial institution in the state for some questionable dealing.
Say he ran a business or nonprofit that arguably inflated its financial condition in order to secure office space. That could form the basis of an investigation into whether he committed a crime by fraudulently obtaining property or credit. And if someone like the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, a Republican who is no stranger to accusations of illegal and unethical conduct, could orchestrate such an effort, is there any serious doubt that he would try it?
Considering that chunks of the Dem elite have family members running investment funds with companies that do business nationwide, it shouldn’t be too hard to manage.
Khardori accurately notes that no indictments are likely coming out of Delaware, but the location of incorporation is only one of the strings that can be pulled to generate a case. Was money moved through a bank with a presence in a particular locality? Was the investment firm putting money into companies doing business in that locality? Were meetings held in the area? If we lower the bar enough, a ham sandwich can be indicted.
Of course, the rules will be different for politically motivated criminal investigations the way that they are for election denial and insurrections, but once a door is opened, it won’t easily be closed again.