OpEd: Alan Dershowitz: Trump is not an unindicted co-conspirator
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During Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., questioned the legitimacy of the judge’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Blumenthal said in his opening remarks: “The president of the United States who has nominated you is an unindicted co-conspirator.” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., has also characterized Trump as “an unindicted co-conspirator.”
Following Michael Cohen’s guilty plea to eight criminal counts, pundits across the political spectrum claimed that, since Trump’s personal lawyer stated in his allocution that he paid hush money “at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” the president is now an unindicted co-conspirator.
The article goes on to state the following:
On Fox News, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, stated that “If the [prosecutors] believe that what’s in this indictment was true, and that he was directed to make this payment … then the president just became an unindicted co-conspirator.”
Before this claim is repeated so often that people assume it is true, let me state categorically that Trump is not an unindicted co-conspirator and that it is wrong to characterize him as such. An unindicted co-conspirator is someone against whom a grand jury has found probable cause, on the basis of evidence, that he or she is guilty of being a co-conspirator in a crime. But as far as we know there has been no grand jury indictment in this case, because Cohen waived the grand jury and pleaded guilty to “an information” prepared by a prosecutor, not a grand jury. An information is used in federal trials generally when a defendant voluntarily pleads guilty and waives the right of an indictment by a grand jury. So unless there is a secret indictment against Cohen, accusing Trump of being his co-conspirator, Trump cannot be an unindicted co-conspirator. Moreover, the information against Cohen did not include the allegation by Cohen that he was directed to pay hush money by the candidate. That self-serving accusation was made by Cohen in his statement to the judge.
So it cannot be the basis for a conclusion that Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator.
Read more at Washington Examiner.
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