Trump lawyer spars with host over ex-Biden DOJ official tapped in New York hush money case

Former President Trump's lawyer Will Scharf on Sunday previewed the planned appeal of Trump's criminal conviction and also hammered the “weaponization” of the US justice system, citing how a former US Department of Justice official Justice under the Biden administration Manhattan District Attorney Alvin helped. Bragg continues the criminal case against the suspected Republican presidential candidate.

Scharf, a member of Trump's legal team who is running for Missouri attorney general, said in an appearance on ABC's “This Week” that in the meantime, the former president will comply with pre-sentencing investigations before he is appealing his conviction on 34 charges. the trial in which Trump was accused of falsifying company records to conceal payments to porn star Stormy Daniels to influence the 2016 election.

The attorney sparred with ABC host George Stephanopoulos about the motives of the case itself, noting how prosecutor Matthew Colangelo stood directly over Bragg's shoulder when the Manhattan district attorney announced the guilty verdicts at a news conference Thursday.

“I categorically disagree that the New York District Attorney was not politically motivated here, and I categorically disagree that President Biden and his political allies are not up to their necks in this prosecution. I think the fact that the Biden campaign…” Scharf,” he said, before Stephanopoulos intervened.

TRUMP SUPPORTERS TURN AMERICAN FLAG UPDOWN IN PROTEST AGAINST THE PERCEIVED OF THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg hosted a press conference following former President Trump's sentencing on May 30, 2024, in New York City. Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo is seen at right, behind Bragg. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

'There's no evidence of that here. Sir, there's no – there's no – I'm not going to let you keep saying that. There is simply zero evidence for that,” Stephanopoulos claimed.

“Well, what about the fact that Matthew Colangelo was standing – standing over Alvin Bragg's shoulder at the time – when he announced this verdict,” Scharf said. “I mean, Colangelo was Biden's Justice Department number three who suddenly disappears and shows up as an assistant district attorney right as Trump's case is progressing in New York. You want to talk about political…'

“After the decision was made there,” the host interjected, but Scharf persisted.

“If you want to talk about political coordination, George, it's right in front of you,” the lawyer said.

“This has nothing to do – this has nothing to do – no, it's not. This has nothing to do with President Biden. Do you want to answer the question about the criminal trial or not?” Stephanopoulos said.

“I strongly disagree that this has nothing to do with President Biden,” Scharf said. “Regarding the conviction, as I said before, we will vigorously challenge this case on appeal. I don't think President Trump will ultimately be subjected to any punishment whatsoever. And we look forward to hearing this case. to the next court and, if necessary, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend President Trump's rights.”

Scharf viewed the hush money ordeal as a “zombie case” in New York that has been dragging on for years and could have come up anytime after 2020. before a grand jury and then rushed to court,” the lawyer said earlier in the interview. “You want to talk about the politicization of the justice system, I mean, this is Exhibit A. It's absolutely unprecedented in American history. It's not the way our campaigns should be run. We contest elections at the ballot box, not in American history. the courts in this country.”

Trump and Todd Blanche address the media after a guilty plea on hush money charges

Former President Trump speaks to the media with his lawyer Todd Blanche after his hush money trial in New York, Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Michael M. Santiago/pool photo via AP)

HOW TRUMP'S GUILTY EXCLUSIONS COULD AFFECT THE 2024 REMATCH WITH BIDEN

On Friday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, urged Bragg and Colangelo to appear for a June hearing on Trump's “weaponization of the federal government” and “unprecedented political persecution.” As president, Biden is not supposed to have authority over the state courts in New York, but Republicans allege that Biden instigated the prosecution of a political opponent during an election year.

Trump's legal team had repeatedly asked Judge Juan M. Merchan to recuse himself, citing a potential conflict of interest since he had donated to Biden's campaign and given that Merchan's daughter, as president of Authentic Campaigns – a group which represents Democratic politicians and political action committees – was raising money for the hush money case.

On appeal, Scharf said Trump's legal team will again challenge Merchan's failure to recant on appeal despite “a clear violation of due process” and also challenge aspects of the jury instructions themselves.

Koopman, Trump

Judge Juan Merchan refused to excuse himself in Trump's hush-money trial. (Getty Images)

“If you look at the jury instructions, I think Judge Merchan essentially — I wouldn't say he distorted the deliberations, but he certainly steered the jury in the direction of the verdict that he clearly wanted,” he said.

“I think some of Judge Merchan's evidentiary decisions as this trial unfolded were, quite frankly, astonishing,” Scharf continued. “Not allowing Brad Smith to testify the way he wanted to. This is one of the world's leading experts on federal election law. This limits the scope of Robert Costello's investigation, who in my opinion had absolutely damning information about the prosecution's case. after decision after decision, Judge Merchan has, I think, deviated from normal courtroom procedure, normal courtroom practice, to essentially take on President Trump.”

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Stephanopoulos suggested that Trump's criticism of Merchan and Bragg could complicate the criminal trial, but Scharf insisted that Trump had every right to speak out, especially after the judge's silence order.

“I think it is very important to note that President Trump is running for president of the United States of America. And he has an absolute constitutional right to comment on matters of public interest. And unfortunately, this process, which, in my opinion, has been wrongly incorporated into the presidential election cycle, is a matter of enormous public interest,” Scharf said. “The weaponization of our justice system, the politicization of prosecution, these are all things that President Trump absolutely needs to comment on. I think the fact that he worked under a gag order for as long as he did was clearly unfair.”

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