Rebuking "trumped-up charges" against Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg on Thursday, columnist and Harvard Law School graduate Dan McLaughlin called the Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's move "a familiar sight in banana republics."
"Don't prosecute your enemies under rules you would not want used against your friends," McLaughlin wrote in an opinion piece for the New York Post on Thursday. "If Trump shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, Vance would have a duty to prosecute him. But trumped-up charges against former leaders are a familiar sight in banana republics."
This "stage-managed political show trial" for situations like this "rarely prosecuted" will set a bad precedent in American law and politics, he added.
"America has thus far avoided that," he wrote. "Making a precedent of this kind of case, based on aggressive readings of the law or its extension to situations rarely prosecuted, is a perilous step."
Ultimately, any political motivation in getting to former President Donald Trump might backfire and have the opposite result, he concluded.
"Vance seems to think he's Eliot Ness getting Al Capone for tax fraud by nabbing his accountant," McLaughlin wrote. "But if Weisselberg isn't going to testify that his boss did something criminal, it's Trump who will come out looking untouchable."
Vance's apparent desire to punish "political enemies" will also make Trump's "partisan 'witch hunt'" narrative stick with Americans.
"Donald Trump has long claimed that investigations of him are a partisan 'witch hunt,'" McLaughlin began. "Manhattan DA Cy Vance seems determined to make Trump's point for him by indicting the Trump Organization along with its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg."
The 15 counts merely come "down to paying perks to Weisselberg — such as his parking garage fees, tuition for family members and reimbursement of holiday gratuities — and not reporting them as taxable income, or reporting that the wrong Trump entity paid them."
These "almost never get criminally prosecuted," according to McLaughlin, who added this case shows Vance failed to find "the goods" on Trump.
"Attorney General Robert Jackson, later a Supreme Court justice and Nuremberg prosecutor, warned against 'picking the man and then searching the law books, or putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him,' in which case 'the real crime becomes that of being unpopular with the predominant or governing group, being attached to the wrong political views, or being personally obnoxious to or in the way of the prosecutor himself,'" McLaughlin wrote.
"True in 1940, true in 2021."
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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