“I don’t think a jury would convict him without proof of harm. I’m not sure I would…It has to be one-hundred-per-cent irresistible as a matter of law. There can be no fact, no event, no piece of evidence that could support any room for ambiguity.”
—NYU law professor and legal ethics expert Stephen Gillers, reflecting on the chances of conviction arising from an indictment of Donald Trump for violations of the Espionage Act and other statutes making the mishandling classified information a crime.
Gillers’ position is similar to that of Alan Dershowitz, who also said last week that while there appears to be sufficient evidence to charge Trump (based on the heavily redacted affidavit Trump was mocking in his meme above), it would be unwise to do so. It would also be unethical prosecutorial conduct unless there is a significant likelihood that Trump could be convicted. It is unethical to make “the process the punishment,” and Attorney General Garland knows it.
This is why the raid on Mar-a-Largo was suspicious as well as a terrible precedent in the first place. In the absence of any demonstrated urgency, the raid looked like an effort to “mess Trump up a little” by treating him like a drug kingpin or a Mafia crime boss rather than with the deference every other former POTUS has received. This made it political theater rather than legitimate law enforcement, executed by a struggling administration apparently terrified of the previous President and his passionate supporters. Continue reading