House Judiciary GOP calls on appellate courts to ‘reverse the verdict’ in NY v. Trump in new staff report

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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Judge Juan Merchan ‘worked together to deprive’ former President Trump of ‘his constitutional and legal rights,’ the House Judiciary Committee said in a new staff report exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital, saying their findings should prompt appellate courts to ‘reverse the verdict.’

Fox News Digital exclusively obtained the interim staff report created by the House Judiciary Committee and its Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. 

The report, titled ‘Lawfare: How the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and a New York State Judge Violated the Constitutional and Legal Rights of President Donald J. Trump,’ spanning 35-pages, outlines the committee’s findings since it launched its probe into the matter in March 2023. 

Trump was found guilty in May on all counts following a six-week-long trial — the first of a former President of the United States. Bragg, in April 2023, had charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. Trump had pleaded not guilty. The former president has vowed to appeal the verdict. 

The committee has said that Bragg’s prosecution of Trump was politically motivated, and ‘opened the door for future prosecutions of a former president — or current candidate — that would be widely perceived as politically motivated.’ 

The report revealed that Bragg’s prosecution of Trump suffered from ‘severe legal and procedural defects.’ 

The committees investigated ‘the use of lawfare tactics’ and sought to expose ‘the two-tiered justice system that extends from the highest offices in the Department of Justice to the offices of politically ambitious state and local prosecutors.’ 

‘A fundamental principle of the American system of justice is that no individual is above the law. But just as important is the precept that prosecutors prosecute conduct, not individuals. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, however, ran for office on a platform of investigating and prosecuting President Trump, bragging about his extensive experience suing President Trump,’ the report states. ‘Although Bragg was initially hesitant to bring charges once he became district attorney, he faced intense political pressure to do so, including a leaked resignation letter from a special assistant district attorney who attacked Bragg for being too timid. That same prosecutor, Mark Pomerantz, later authored a tell-all book in which he took Bragg to task for failing to prosecute President Trump.’ 

‘Unsurprisingly, just months after Pomerantz’s book premiered — and after President Trump declared his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination — Bragg succumbed to this political pressure and filed charges relying on Pomerantz’s theory of the case,’ the report states. 

The report outlined the committee’s findings, saying Bragg used an ‘unconstitutional and unprecedented Russian-nesting-doll theory of criminal liability, in which the jury never had to reach unanimity beyond a reasonable doubt as to each element of the criminal offenses.’ 

The committee also criticized the Biden administration for refusing to ‘intercede to protect federal interests’ as Bragg sought to prosecute alleged violations of federal campaign finance laws. 

The committee also slammed Judge Merchan for ‘egregious legal rulings before and during the trial that all cut against President Trump’s rights.’ 

The committee pointed to Merchan’s decision not to recuse himself from the case, despite his daughter’s work for Democrat politicians. The committee, in its report, described that as ‘manifest political bias against President Trump.’ 

They also pointed to the gag order imposed upon Trump before, during and after the trial, which prevented the former president from speaking about court staff or witnesses; his admission of ‘plainly inadmissible, irrelevant, and unfairly prejudicial testimony’ against the former president; and his refusal to allow the testimony of former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith. 

‘President Trump never had a real shot at a fair trial in Manhattan,’ the report states. ‘In a more neutral jurisdiction, where a politically ambitious prosecutor was not motivated by partisanship and a trial judge with perceived biases did not refuse to enforce a fir proceeding, President Trump would never have been found guilty.’ 

The report states that ‘Manhattan is anything but a neutral jurisdiction.’ 

The committee said that the state or local prosecution of a current or former president by a popularly elected district attorney ‘raises substantial federal interests and raises serious concerns about conflict between state and federal entities.’ 

‘While Bragg and Congressional Democrats dismiss these concerns, the Committee has taken steps to ensure that certain federal officials may have a fair trial in a more neutral venue,’ the report states. 

The committee said its oversight work ‘is not done,’ but said the report presents ‘the facts about how the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and a Manhattan judge worked together to deprive President Donald J. Trump of his constitutional and legal rights.’ 

The committee heard testimony from top legal experts during the investigation — testimony that they say ‘makes clear that President Trump’s trial was riddled with constitutional defects.’ 

‘Defects that should prompt the New York appellate courts to reverse the verdict,’ the report states. ‘The trial violated basic principles of due process.’ 

The committee said Trump was ‘deprived of the opportunity to defend himself from the alleged underlying crime because prosecutors never disclosed it’ and Merchan ‘never forced them to do so.’ 

During the trial, New York prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said the underlying crime was a violation of a New York law called ‘conspiracy to promote or prevent election.’

 Typically, on their own, falsifying business records and conspiracy to promote or prevent elections are viewed as misdemeanors. 

‘Because President Trump had no notice of the specific charges against him, in particular the underlying crime and its essential elements, he did not have a meaningful opportunity to defend himself from those charges,’ the report states. 

The House Judiciary Committee is now demanding ‘an honest review of the facts and the law,’ which the committee stressed would ‘likely lead appellate courts to vacate the conviction and dismiss the indictment with prejudice.’ 

‘This will go a long way in restoring the American people’s trust and confidence in our justice system, although more work is ahead,’ the report states.

Trump was set to be sentenced after being found guilty on all counts on July 11 — just days before the Republican National Convention, where Trump is set to be formally nominated as the 2024 GOP presidential nominee. 

Trump’s sentencing will be delayed until September 18. 

The delay comes after Trump moved to overturn the conviction in the Manhattan case following the U.S. Supreme Court’s long-awaited ruling on the issue of presidential immunity. 

The Supreme Court ruled that a former president has substantial immunity for official acts committed while in office. 

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