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Trump’s Indictment Is Exactly What He Wants

Trump’s Indictment Is Exactly What He Wants

Trump’s Indictment Is Exactly What He Wants


Contributing Writer

April 13, 2023

Yvie Dillard '26

Donald Trump’s indictment by a Manhattan grand jury on March 30, 2023, has been on the front page of newspapers across the nation. Mr. Trump faces 34 felony charges of falsifying business records in the first degree, all of which he has pleaded not guilty to. The indictment makes Mr. Trump the first U.S. President to face criminal charges. This historic trial could play out in any number of ways. Most likely, it will be a kick-start to Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump’s affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels sparked the nation’s interest in 2016, near the end of his first presidential campaign. Through his lawyer, Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump allegedly paid Mrs. Daniels $130,000 in hush money to conceal their affair. This allowed Mr. Trump to avoid reputational harm and may have helped him succeed in the presidential race.

Charges of falsifying business records are either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. This is defined by whether the falsification was intended to conceal another crime. The maximum penalty for a felony count of falsifying business records is four years in prison, but there is no minimum sentence. This, coupled with Mr. Trump’s age and lack of a criminal history, makes the likelihood of his receiving jail time low. In this specific case, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is arguing that the former President’s actions are a felony because they were done to conceal a violation of campaign finance law. This argument is tenuous legally, though, because this application of New York law is novel and untested in court and will become a substantial issue throughout the trial.

The indictment fell just five days after the kick-off rally for Mr. Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign in Waco, Texas. The rally was attended by nearly 15,000 people. The timing of the indictment has been chosen poorly: if anything, this trial may strengthen Trump’s campaign. Mr. Trump has painted himself as the victim in this case by profusely asserting his innocence and illustrating the indictment as a “witch hunt” and a “weaponization of our justice system.” These statements are compelling, especially because just a year ago, the former Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance decided there was not sufficient evidence to pursue this exact case.

Mr. Trump consistently proclaims his innocence. Rather than stating his presidential goals, he whines about his problems and criticizes those opposing him. His immaturity should not be celebrated as it is by his followers. Since the indictment, the former President has managed to raise a substantial amount of money. This goes to show how fanatic Mr. Trump’s base really is, and demonstrates the extent to which a flimsy prosecution may backfire. His behavior is unacceptable and not befitting the president’s office. This indictment is historic, as no president has been on the receiving end of an indictment. We shall see if he is the first president to serve jail time.

Yvie Dillard is a contributing writer for The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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