Elon Musk Calls Trump Trial ‘Obviously a Corruption of the Law’
Elon Musk Calls Trump Trial ‘Obviously a Corruption of the Law’

By Tom Ozimek

Elon Musk has called the New York “hush money” trial against former President Donald Trump “obviously a corruption of the law” and an act of “lawfare,” as the first-ever criminal trial against a former U.S. president kicked off in a Manhattan courtroom.

Mr. Musk made the remark in a post on X in response to a post by former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who offered his own critical commentary on a trial that he believes is “tearing our country apart.”

President Trump’s trial got underway on April 15 in a case officially known as The People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump, in which the former president is accused of hiding so-called “hush money” payments to an adult film actress by falsifying business records.

He has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and, before he entered the courtroom on Monday, reiterated his position that the case is politically motivated.

“This is really an attack on a political opponent. That’s all it is,” President Trump told reporters outside the courtroom before going inside.

‘Legal Stretch’

In the case, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged President Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records.

Such charges would normally be a misdemeanor but Mr. Bragg elevated them to the rank of felonies by claiming that the payments were part of a scheme to influence the 2016 election by burying potentially embarrassing news coverage of President Trump’s alleged tryst with adult film performer Stormy Daniels in exchange for $130,000 in “hush money” payments.

The former president has denied the affair and on April 10, he shared a photograph on social media of a document bearing the heading “Official Statement of Stormy Daniels” that’s dated Jan. 30, 2018, and bears her signature.

“I am not denying this affair because it was paid ‘hush money’ as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids,” the undersigned statement reads. “I am denying this affair because it never happened.”

Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has since recanted the contents of the letter, claiming she signed it under pressure from her representatives, before writing a salacious “tell-all” book about the alleged affair, from which she’s made an undisclosed sum.

She owes President Trump around $670,000 in court fees and interest from several failed lawsuits, including one in which she accused the former president of defamation over a tweet.

Ms. Daniels recently told Jeffrey Toobin, the former CNN legal analyst who quit after he was caught masturbating on camera during a work-related Zoom call, that she has no intention of paying up and is “prepared to go to jail” before sitting for a deposition about her finances and filling out a form listing her assets.

Prosecutors have the option of calling Ms. Daniels as a witness in President Trump’s criminal trial after the judge denied the former president’s request to block testimony from her and his former personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Meanwhile, a number of people have raised objections to Mr. Bragg’s legal maneuver to spin the misdemeanor charges into felonies, including Mr. Ramaswamy, who in a video posted on X on April 15 called the trial “a joke” and Mr. Bragg’s moves a “legal stretch.”

‘Lawfare’

Mr. Ramaswamy said that for Mr. Bragg to be able to elevate the 34 alleged instances of falsifying business records to felonies, he needs to prove that the records were falsified to advance an underlying crime.

Mr. Bragg has claimed that President Trump essentially defrauded voters in the 2016 presidential election by allegedly paying Ms. Daniels to keep quiet about the alleged affair and so preventing negative news coverage.

Mr. Ramaswamy sees this reasoning as invalid and politically motivated.

“It’s almost as though they decided this is the person we’re going to prosecute,” Mr. Ramaswamy said in the video. “And then we’re going to figure out what we’re going to charge them with after the fact.”

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during a Team Trump South Carolina press conference at AGY Aiken LLC in Aiken, S.C., on Feb. 21, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

“Well, guess what, that’s exactly what happened,” he continued, adding that Mr. Bragg was elected as district attorney on the promise of going after President Trump for some crime or other.

“This is a politician keeping his campaign promise,” Mr. Ramaswamy said. “That is a bastardization of our legal system.”

He warned that the same tactic could be used by the other side in the future, a tit-for-tat that threatens to tear the country apart.

“The same shoe can fit the other foot and if we keep going down this direction, we’re not going to have a country left in the complete absence of a legal argument,” he said.

“To even bring this case against Trump isn’t just embarrassing to Alvin Bragg,” he continued. “It’s embarrassing to our country.”

Mr. Musk posted his agreement with Mr. Ramaswamy’s take.

“This case is obviously a corruption of the law,” the Tesla CEO wrote.

“Lawfare,” he added.

Mr. Bragg’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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