I like the author’s concise review of the issues and unanswered questions involved in this case. Easily read and informative about the legal complexities associated with this prosecution. Great job!

Expand full comment

By the way, one may hereby, reach Hmmerschmidt v. US (mentioned in the post, but not linked). Here:


Expand full comment
Apr 7·edited Apr 7

My understanding is that Stormy Daniels (likely through her lawyer) threatened to go public with negative information about Trump. If true, that sounds an awful like what landed Michael Avenatti in jail. Do you whether that's the case, or was this preemptive hush money paid without a threat? (I find it hard to believe it's the latter.)

Expand full comment

Great post (as usual).

Yet, first, what went on in his mind (of Trump) is pretty clear:

He new about all this (at least, if one would rely upon the statement of facts, linked in the post).

I quote for example:

" The Defendant directed Lawyer A to delay making a payment to Woman 2 as long as possible. He instructed Lawyer A that if they could delay the payment until after the election, they could avoid paying altogether, because at that point it would not matter if the story became public. As reflected in emails and text messages between and among Lawyer A, Lawyer B, and the AMI Editor-in-Chief, Lawyer A attempted to delay making payment as long as possible."

So, his active involvement, looks pretty clear here.

Also, there are audio records by the way, I quote:

" In a conversation captured in an audio recording in approximately September 2016 concerning Woman 1’s account, the Defendant and Lawyer A discussed how to obtain the rights to Woman 1’s account from AMI and how to reimburse AMI for its payment. Lawyer A told the Defendant he would open up a company for the transfer of Woman 1’s account and other information, and stated that he had spoken to the Chief Financial Officer for the Trump Organization (the “TO CFO”) about “how to set the whole thing up.” The Defendant asked, “So what do we got to pay for this? One fifty?” and suggested paying by cash. When Lawyer A disagreed, the Defendant then mentioned payment by check. After the conversation, Lawyer A created a shell company called Resolution Consultants, LLC on or about September 30, 2016."

Second, and notwithstanding the specific charge, and the intent to defraud, the respectable author of the post, ignores simply, other potential victims or third parties as victims. And those may be, the Controller and the Accounts Payable Supervisor. I quote:

"On or about February 14, 2017, Lawyer A emailed the Controller of the Trump Organization (the “TO Controller”) the first monthly invoice, which stated: “Pursuant to the retainer agreement, kindly remit payment for services rendered for the months of January and February, 2017.” The invoice requested payment in the amount of $35,000 for each of those two months. The TO CFO approved the payment, and, in turn, the TO Controller sent the invoice to the Trump Organization Accounts Payable Supervisor (the “TO Accounts Payable Supervisor”) with the following instructions: “Post to legal expenses. Put ‘retainer for the months of January and February 2017’ in the description.”

So, we have here, third parties, innocents let alone, who had to deal with corrupt practice. Did they know ? Did they suspect something maybe ? We don't really know right now it seems. But, one doesn't need necessarily, mass of voters or publishing in the big news corporations, for corrupting third parties. Two persons, are enough one may argue.


Expand full comment

Great article, as always from Eliason. One point I disagree on is I think it's 100% clear that "this kind of hush money payment constitutes a campaign contribution".

Trump is quoted saying that if he could delay one of the payments until after the election then it would no longer be needed. The John Edwards defense won't hold up here.

If the prosecution replies to a Bill of Particulars, will that be available to the public? It would be fascinating to read.

Expand full comment

I am not a lawyer. HIs life of crime is well documented. Finally the law is catching up with him. Lawyers are paid to try and find gimmicky ways out of him being held accountable, are in my uneducated view, ambulance chasers and most often their arguments don't prevail in a court of law of true jurist judges. PLenty of evidences of his cheating ways of decades.

Expand full comment