On Tuesday’s broadcast of NBC’s “Hallie Jackson Reports,” NBC Legal Analyst Danny Cevallos stated that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of former President Donald Trump “used a misdemeanor, added a misdemeanor to it, and got a felony.” And that “sometimes statutes are struck down because they’re not well written. I think this is one of those laws,” because whoever wrote it didn’t think ahead.
Cevallos stated, “New York has a law, falsification of business records, it’s ordinarily a misdemeanor…New York law allows that to become a felony if the false entry was also in furtherance of or to conceal a crime. It doesn’t say what specific crime. And, in fact, it’s pretty vague what kinds of crimes qualify. For a while, a lot of us talked about, well, can they use a federal crime? Because states cannot enforce federal law. Well, what we learned today is that Alvin Bragg instead used a New York law, a New York election law, which is a misdemeanor. Very interesting, because Alvin Bragg used a misdemeanor, added a misdemeanor to it, and got a felony.”
He added that the law doesn’t “ordinarily” work like this and the language of the statute is critical. Cevallos continued, “Now, a lot of folks see criminal statutes and they think, oh, well, whoever made that, whoever enacted that knew what they were doing. It’s not always the case. … And sometimes statutes are struck down because they’re not well written. I think this is one of those laws, because I don’t think the legislators thought ahead as to how or what crimes would be appropriate and whether or not you even need to prove that second crime in order to bump it up to a felony.”
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