‘This Is an Outrage’: Megyn Shreds Alvin Bragg and Prosecutors Over the Sham Trial of Donald Trump in New York

Jeenah Moon/Pool Photo via AP

As of 11:28am ET, the case of The People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump was officially in the hands of the jury. 

This is the first criminal prosecution of a U.S. president ever, and it is over whether he properly documented a payment to a woman claiming that they’d had an affair and she wanted to tell the media in exchange for a nondisclosure agreement.

Those are the norms that we crossed, and that was just the beginning.

Closing Arguments  

Last night, closing arguments in this business records case dragged on and on as the prosecutor, Joshua Steinglass, fell more and more in love with the sound of his own voice. It took him more than five hours to deliver his summations, with court wrapping up at 8pm. 

During the marathon argument, we finally heard the prosecution’s case in full against Trump, and it is even more outrageous than we knew. There is a reason Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was playing cutesy with us on what this case was built upon from the moment he indicted the former president. We heard that reason for the first time during the closing arguments in this trial.

Let me remind you what we heard from Bragg right after he indicted Trump last March. He came out and said, ‘I’m indicting him for falsification of business records.’ People said, ‘That’s a misdemeanor and that statute of limitations has expired. How can you bring that?’ He said, ‘Well, it becomes a felony with a longer statute of limitations if it was done in falsification to cover up an underlying crime.’ Then the press asked the question we all had on our minds: ‘What was the underlying crime? What was he trying to cover up?’ 

Bragg’s response at the time? “The indictment doesn’t specify it because the law does not so require.” Basically, he doesn’t have to tell you.

So, it wasn’t until closing arguments yesterday when the defense attorney had already sat down – because under New York law, unlike in most places, the defense has to go first and the prosecution goes second – that we finally learned what the underlying crime was.

The Big Reveal

While Steinglass got up there and still cast a wide net by saying it could have been a tax violation or it could have been falsification of ‘other records,’ he really hung his hat on the violation of the federal election law known as FECA (short for Federal Election Campaign Act). 

That is what the prosecution drove home. That is the principal basis for this entire case. Bragg did not want us to know because that is a federal statute and he does not have the jurisdiction to enforce federal election law. 

The federal Department of Justice had already said there is no case here. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) had already said there is no case here. Only Alvin Bragg resurrected this alleged violation as the underlying basis for this entire criminal case.

No Due Process

What kind of a position does that put the defense in when they are in a New York courtroom and have had to sit through an entire case without ever being told what the underlying offenses and only when they are no longer allowed to speak does Bragg lift the dress up for the first time?

Donald Trump was not afforded due process in this case. Not by a long shot. They refused to tell the defendant, who had to answer to criminal charges, what they were charging him with. We only found out after his defense attorney sat down and had no additional chance to address the jury. 

This is an outrage, this is disgusting, and this was done with the cooperation and complicity of Judge Juan Merchan who is supposedly an independent, fair-minded jurist. It is a lie, and no defense attorney in America – at least if they were being honest and not letting politics drive their analysis – would disagree that this was an unfair position to put any defendant in. 

The judge and the prosecution’s obligation is to the pursuit of justice. It is not to get a conviction. And yet they did everything within their means to prevent Donald Trump from knowing exactly what he was defending against, so they could keep the defense off balance and so they could surprise them.

They saved this tidbit until no one else could stand up on behalf of Donald Trump say, ‘This is a federal case. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are actually the feds trying to enforce this completely amorphous, difficult-to-understand statute after they have already kept out – through all of our arguments – any federal election law expert from testifying so this jury or any of us could understand the fundamental foundation of the entire criminal case.”

Jury Instructions

Speaking of the jurors, they returned to court this morning to receive the ever-elusive jury instructions. We finally kind of got a glimpse at them. They have still not been publicly released, but those who heard the judge reading the instructions were following along with those that had been submitted by both parties. Through posts on X, we learned what the judge struck out and what he allowed. 

This is no way for the media or the public, which has to make a decision on whether to elect Donald Trump in November, should have to follow along in this case. But this is what we have been reduced to, so we have tried to figure out the jury instructions in this first-ever criminal prosecution of a former president from tweets by those inside the courtroom. 

The spark notes: A lot of changes were made.

Deliberations Begin

All the while, Trump remains on standby for yet another day. He will not be on the campaign trail because he has to sit in court. It has been seven weeks already, and it could be weeks more until the jury reaches a verdict – if they reach one.

In order to reach a ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ verdict, the jury must be unanimous. All 12 jurors must agree. But Trump only needs one holdout for a hung jury, which is basically the same as ‘not guilty’ for him because there is no realistic possibility of a retrial before Election Day and, therefore, the case will go away. It is exactly the same as a ‘not guilty’ verdict for Trump and his purposes. 

You can check out Megyn’s full analysis by tuning in to episode 804 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.