Yale Law Prof Jed Rubenfeld suggests Trump tactics to evade 'irreparable harm' from hush money case in 2024 election

Yale Law Prof Jed Rubenfeld suggests Trump tactics to evade 'irreparable harm' from hush money case in 2024 election
Yale Law Professor Jed Rubenfeld examined the legal choices available to Donald Trump's defense team in light of the jury's decision (Getty Images, YouTube/Professor Jed Rubenfeld)

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: After a New York jury found former President Donald Trump guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, a Yale Law professor suggested another tactic the former president's legal team could use to lessen the impact of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's case on the 2024 presidential election.

Professor Jed Rubenfeld examined the legal choices available to Trump's defense team in light of the jury's decision in a recently launched podcast called 'Straight Down the Middle'. He also discussed the impending appeals process, per Fox News.

Former President Donald Trump and his attorney Todd Blanche exit the courthouse and speak to media after Trump was found guilty following his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024 in New York City. The former president was found guilty on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. Trump has now become the first former U.S. president to be convicted of felony crimes. (Photo by Mark Peterson - Pool/Getty Images)
A New York jury found former President Donald Trump guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records (Getty Images)

Donald Trump's legal team can appeal through the New York Appeals Court system

The most obvious course of action for Trump's legal team to contest the conviction is to file an appeal with the New York Appeals Court, hoping to get all the way to the Supreme Court. Rubenfeld claimed that this process could cause "irreparable harm" and take years to finish.

"Of course that would take years, and that's a problem here. Why is it a problem? It's a problem because the election will have taken place and if this conviction is unlawful and unconstitutional, it could have an effect on that election," Rubenfeld, a Constitutional law professor, said on his podcast.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 19: Former U.S. President Donald Trump (R) sits with his attorney Todd Blanche (L) during his criminal trial as jury selection continues at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 19, 2024 in New York City. Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records last year, which prosecutors say was an effort to hide a potential sex scandal, both before and after the 2016 presidential election. Trump is the first former U.S. president to face trial on criminal charges. (Photo by Mark Peterson - Pool/Getty Images)
Prof Jed Rubenfeld claimed that appealing to the New York Appeals Court could cause 'irreparable harm' and take years to finish (Getty Images)

Prof Jed Rubenfeld on Americans who will still vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming election

Rubenfeld stated, "If that's true, an unlawful conviction in this case could interfere with, and in fact decide the outcome of, the next election of the next President of the United States," referencing surveys that indicate a "substantial number" of American voters say they will still vote for Trump in the upcoming presidential election even if he has a criminal record.

"Even if the conviction were reversed on appeal years later, that effect could not be undone. In legal terms, that's called irreparable harm," Rubenfeld said.



 

What will happen if Donald Trump's conviction were overturned on appeal?

Rubenfeld proposed that Bragg and Judge Juan Merchan would have "unlawfully interfered with the election and decided the outcome of the next election through unconstitutional means" if the conviction were overturned on appeal in the future. "And no years-long appeal could have any effect on that," he added.

(Getty Images, YouTube/NewsNation)
Prof Jed Rubenfeld proposed that Bragg and Judge Juan Merchan would have 'unlawfully interfered with the election and decided the outcome of the next election through unconstitutional means' if the conviction were overturned on appeal in the future (Getty Images, YouTube/NewsNation)

Prof Jed Rubenfeld says Donald Trump is not a 'convicted felon'

Rubenfeld maintained that, in spite of media reports, Trump is not a "convicted felon" and that the claim is "not true." He claimed that a jury verdict does not make someone a convicted felon.

"You are not convicted until the judge enters that judgment of guilt. Now, in New York, it's very likely that Judge Merchan will enter that judgment of guilt against Trump on the same day that he issues sentencing. That'd be July 11th," he said. 

Rubenfeld insisted there's "one other avenue" Trump's attorneys could take in combating the conviction — to sue in federal court and "ask for an emergency, temporary restraining order."

STERLING, VIRGINIA - MAY 27: Former US President Donald Trump looks on from the 18th green during day two of the LIV Golf Invitational - DC at Trump National Golf Club on May 27, 2023 in Sterling, Virginia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Prof Jed Rubenfeld maintained that, despite media reports, Donald Trump is not a 'convicted felon' and that the claim is 'not true' (Getty Images)

Prof Jed Rubenfeld on problems with the case surrounding Donald Trump

Rubenfeld listed what he considered to be issues with the Trump case while also voicing concerns about how it presents a "bad look for this country" to criminally target former presidents for "unclear" crimes.

"Going after, criminally, a former president of the United States and somebody who is running for president now, that's a very bad look for this country," he said.

"It's an especially bad look when the folks bringing the case and the judge deciding it are members of the opposing political party. And it's an even worse look when the crime is so unclear that the state is hiding the ball about what the actual charges are right up through the trial and indeed into the trial," he continued.

"Even now, we don't know exactly what the jury found Trump guilty of," Rubenfeld added.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 19: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media at the end of the day during his criminal trial as jury selection continues at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 19, 2024 in New York City. Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records last year, which prosecutors say was an effort to hide a potential sex scandal, both before and after the 2016 presidential election. Trump is the first former U.S. president to face trial on criminal charges. (Photo by Maansi Srivastava - Pool/Getty Images)
Prof Jed Rubenfeld says Donald Trump's conviction presents a 'bad look for this country' to criminally target former presidents for 'unclear' crimes (Getty Images)

Prof Jed Rubenfeld's message to those who criminally target members of opposing political parties

According to Rubenfeld, individuals who unlawfully target members of rival political parties, in this instance, Trump, the "poll-leading candidate", "better have the goods."

"You better not be pursuing some novel legal theory where you have to hide the ball [and] it's not even clear what the charges are," he said. "That could be a very dangerous precedent for this country. A very bad and dangerous precedent."

"That's why it's so important for a federal court to review the constitutionality of this prosecution and decide was it constitutional or was it not," he added. "The only way to achieve that before the election takes place is for the Trump team to file an action in federal court and ask the federal court to temporarily hold off the entry of the judgment of guilt until the federal courts, and maybe the Supreme Court itself, can, on an emergency basis, adjudicate the likelihood of success of these constitutional arguments."

If that doesn't happen, Rubenfeld said, then "that 'irreparable harm' danger that I mentioned before, well, that's where we are."

"But if it does happen, the nation could get a ruling from the federal courts, even the Supreme Court of the United States, before the election takes place," he said. "Maybe that's what the nation needs, and maybe that's what the law requires here."

Donald Trump was found guilty on all counts in the hush money trial

The jury in Trump's Manhattan trial last week found him guilty on all 34 counts of fabricating business documents pertaining to the payment of hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Trump is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11 and could be sent to prison, just days before the Republican National Convention is slated to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 21: Stormy Daniels is seen arriving to ABC's
Donald Trump is found guilty of paying $130,000 to former adult actress Stormy Daniels (Getty Images)

Netizens demand arrest for 'everyone involved in the illegal prosecution'

Internet users strongly supported the former president after the Yale Law professor suggested possible wayouts for the former president and his legal team.

One X user tweeted, "Everyone involved in the illegal prosecution should be arrested." Another wrote, "The Nation needs #Trump." 

"Honestly, it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. Legal strategies can get super complicated and it's not always clear what the best move is. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens next," opined one. 

"I like the theory the professor lays out. What we keep forgetting is that the primary reason for keeping Trump out of office is the fear of the democrats have of being exposed. Trump wants to get the US back to being a respected nation. Hence, the reason for draining the swamp," another chimed in. 



 



 



 



 

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