Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a grand jury in New York on 34 charges of falsifying business records in the first degree, in violation of New York Penal Code Section 175.10. Each charge pertains to a check or voucher paid from the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust.

The grand jury indictment alleges that “the defendant, in the County of New York and elsewhere, on or about February 14, 2017, with intent to defraud and intent to commit another crime and aid and conceal the commission thereof, made and caused a false entry in the business records of an enterprise, to wit, an invoice from Michael Cohen dated February 14, 2017, marked as a record of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, and kept and maintained by the Trump Organization” (see indictment). Trump has pleaded “not guilty.”

The charges were supposed to be solid, ethical, and well-researched. In the US, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

There is a serious obsession among some on the American left with the image of Trump in metal shackles and an orange jumpsuit.

With the charges now public, more questions have emerged, as the prosecution’s case is based entirely on witness statements from the following individuals:

  • Michael Cohen, who was previously convicted and served as Trump’s former attorney
  • Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress who allegedly received “hush money” payments from Donald J. Trump
  • Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who discussed her alleged affair with Trump in an interview with CNN’s Alison Cooper before the 2016 election
  • Emails exchanged between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump

Despite the fact that conversations between an attorney and client are typically privileged, the payments in question were made from Donald J. Trump’s Revocable Trust and were among the hundreds of LLCs belonging to the Trump Organization.

Over the course of eight years, Donald Trump’s business accounts, taxes, finances, and campaign underwent multiple audits. There is a serious obsession among some on the American left with the image of Trump in metal shackles and an orange jumpsuit. This vision, fueled by Democrats, borders on insanity and appears to stem from fear that he could win the 2024 election.

Most lawyers are concerned about a pattern of bending the rule of law for politically-driven outcomes. For those who maintain the integrity of their profession, the mental gymnastics required to create a crime that can be charged against Trump is troubling.

Prosecutors are expected to apply the law equally to all individuals in America. It’s essential that the law be applied without prejudice, but this does not seem to be the case for Trump.

The Clinton campaign

In 2016, the law firm Perkins Coie hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate the Trump campaign. The Clinton campaign paid $1.02 million from federal campaign funds to cover the costs of producing the resulting unverified Christopher Steele dossier.

The Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign reported the total amount paid to Perkins Coie on campaign finance reports. However, in March 2022, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) fined the DNC $105,000 and the Clinton campaign $8,000 for misreporting those fees and expenses as “legal services” and “legal and compliance consulting” rather than “opposition research.”

Hillary Clinton’s Midnight Rally–Raleigh North Carolina [Photo: jalexartis Photography]

There was no “indictment.” There was no “media frenzy.” The entire scandal ended up with a simple fine by the Federal Election Commission and was hushed by the mainstream media.

Flash forward to 2023, former President Donald Trump is facing a potential maximum sentence of 136 years in prison if convicted on all 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. The only crime listed 34 times is falsifying business records.

There was no “indictment” of Hillary Clinton. There was no media frenzy. The entire scandal ended up with a simple fine from the Federal Election Commission.

Falsification of documents is generally considered a criminal offense, which involves altering, changing, modifying, passing, and/or possessing a document for unlawful purposes. This offense is considered a white-collar crime and in New York, it is typically classified as a misdemeanor.

All we can see from the indictment is that Donald Trump signed checks and vouchers from his Revocable Trust to pay his attorney and obligations per the non-disclosure agreements.

We do not have any indication nor the particulars of how Trump altered, changed, modified, passed, or possessed documents for unlawful purposes.

The purpose of these payments was to comply with the settlement agreement with people who blackmailed him.

In fact, it becomes clear from the charging document that Trump became the target of blackmail and extortion by many people: a doorman mentioned in the Prosecutor’s documents confirmed that he demanded that Trump pays him $30,000 or he would go to the news and tell people that Trump has fathered an illegitimate child.

It appears that the New York Prosecutor wasn’t interested in blackmail crimes and extortion of others against Trump.

Stormy Daniels

Stormy Daniels demanded $130,000 in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair with Donald Trump in 2006. She threatened to make the affair public if the payment was not made.

Extortion much?

Then, the tabloids published the Karen McDougal story, which alleged a 10-month-long affair between Trump and McDougal while Trump was married to Melania Trump.

Trump reportedly paid off McDougal through his attorney Michael Cohen. Despite signing confidentiality agreements with Trump, all of the individuals involved in these scandalous demands went on to break their agreements and smear Trump publicly before the 2016 election.

While Trump still won the 2016 election, the persecution by the Democrats who wish to see Trump indicted and convicted of something and anything continued.

In a defamation trial by Stormy Daniels against Trump, the trial and appellate courts issued a judgment against Stormy Daniels and in favor of Trump ordering her to pay him over $300,000 in legal fees and related expenses.

Paying a settlement to end nuisance claims is not a crime

Now, the New York Prosecutor Allan Bragg is trying to stretch the New York Penal Code and find Trump guilty of falsifying business records.

1 Penal Law § 175.10 reads: “A person is guilty of falsifying business records in the first degree when he commits the crime of falsifying business records in the second degree, and when his intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.”

This means the following:

That Trump personally committed a crime by falsifying documents to hide another crime. So what is the crime Trump was trying to hide?

  1. Adultery? The issue is that Stormy Daniels claimed in her 2018 Official signed Statement that she never had sex with Trump. She just wanted the money.
  2. Paying a settlement to end nuisance claims is not a crime. Therefore, payments to individuals as part of the regular non-disclosure agreement are not a crime, and CEOs and business executives from time to time sign these agreements to end nuisance claims of embarrassment or harm to the company they work in.

Michael Cohen, a convicted criminal, claimed that Trump instructed him to pay Stormy Daniels in cash, but it remains unclear why Cohen would borrow against his home equity line of credit to make the $130,000 payment.

Trump allegedly reimbursed Cohen from the Trump Revocable Trust. However, the payment itself is not fraudulent and there is no crime in paying an attorney with or without a representation agreement when services are rendered.

Trump continues to face what many see as prosecutorial harassment, leading to concerns about double standards and persecution of Republican conservative candidates and supporters within the American justice system.

As Gen Z voters gradually adopt LGBTQ+ ideology and socialism, the American experience of hard work, capitalist enterprise, and the pursuit of the American dream is fading into history. This shift is giving way to global elite control, the silencing of free speech, and a new type of digital technocracy.

Donald Trump may be the last leader of the land of the free.


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Gordana Schifanelli

Gordana Schifanelli, Attorney and former Republican Nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Maryland

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