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Video: House Speaker says SCOTUS ‘should step in’ after Trump’s conviction

The Supreme Court. (Dreamstime/TNS)
June 03, 2024

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has called for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in after a New York jury convicted former president and presumptive Republican 2024 presidential nominee Donald Trump last week on 34 counts of filing false business records.

Speaking with Fox News on Friday, Johnson (R-La.) urged action from the Supreme Court, warning that Trump’s conviction undermined the public’s confidence in the justice system.

“I believe the Supreme Court should step in. Obviously, this is totally unprecedented. And it’s dangerous to our system. I mean, we’ve all discussed this before,” he said. “And you all talk about it all the time. This is diminishing the American people’s faith in our system of justice itself. And to maintain a republic, you have to have that. People have to believe that justice is fair, that there’s equal justice under law. They don’t see that right now.”

The New York case against Trump centered around payments he made to enforce a 2016 nondisclosure agreement to prevent adult film star Stephanie Clifford (who goes by Stormy Daniels) from publicly claiming they had an extramarital encounter. Trump classified the payments for this nondisclosure contract, arranged by his lawyer Michael Cohen, as “legal expenses,” but Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office contended the description was inaccurate. 

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Where falsifying business records, in most cases in New York, would be considered a misdemeanor offense, it can be elevated to a felony offense if it was done to conceal another crime. In this case, Bragg’s office argued that the nondisclosure payments were made to help Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and thus constituted an improper federal campaign finance violation.

While the Federal Election Commission has not considered Trump’s nondisclosure payments as an explicitly campaign-related expense he should have disclosed, Bragg’s office used this alleged federal campaign finance violation as the predicate for elevating Trump’s nondisclosure agreement payments to a felony-level offense.

Trump and his allies have insisted there was no real crime, that Bragg’s office stretched the parameters of New York’s laws for cataloging business expenses, and that Bragg’s office lacked the jurisdiction to use a federal campaign expense as a predicate for elevating the alleged false business filings to a felony offense.

Johnson and Trump have both also characterized the case as a politicized one, brought by a Democrat public official to harm Trump’s 2024 White House run and help President Joe Biden win reelection.

“Today is a shameful day in American history. Democrats cheered as they convicted the leader of the opposing party on ridiculous charges, predicated on the testimony of a disbarred, convicted felon,” Johnson said following Trump’s conviction on Thursday. “This was a purely political exercise, not a legal one. The weaponization of our justice system has been a hallmark of the Biden Administration, and the decision today is further evidence that Democrats will stop at nothing to silence dissent and crush their political opponents.”

Speaking with Fox News on Friday, Johnson said he knows several of the justices on the Supreme Court personally and that they likely share his views about the case. 

“I think they’ll set this straight, but it’s going to take a while,” Johnson said.