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Bragg’s Stormy whether: A Trump indictment from Manhattan grand jury looks increasingly likely


Donald Trump has been invited to appear before a Manhattan grand jury probing $130,000 in hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, a sign that the former president could soon get hit with felony charges.

Emerson said: “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.” We’d give that advice to DA Alvin Bragg before he moves to indict the former president. A weak or shoddy prosecution will only supercharge Trumpian grievance.

In case you haven’t noticed, this page has a low opinion of Trump. In 2016, we ran our longest editorial ever urging his defeat. In 2020, we ran a string of 99 editorials explaining why the serial liar and abuser of power must not be reelected. We supported his impeachment, twice, and last year — when expert fraud prosecutor Mark Pomerantz quit in a huff — questioned Bragg’s failure to bring charges against Trump for lying to banks about his real estate holdings.

Bragg had better be ready.

Bragg didn’t proceed in that case because he deemed the evidence and the theory of the case too iffy. All that puts the decision he’s about to make under even more scrutiny.

Credible reporting says that the indictment hinges on a novel theory to bump up what would otherwise be a misdemeanor — Trump’s falsifying of business records when he listed the Daniels money as legal expenses — to a felony. They’d do this by showing that Trump intended to commit or hide evidence of a second crime, namely a violation of state election law. The trick is that hush-money payments aren’t explicitly against the law, so at trial they’d have to convince a jury that the cash amounted to an illegal donation to Trump’s campaign.

Why a cautious prosecutor like Bragg who shied away from one Trump case because he considered it a bank shot would re-chalk his cue and boldly attempt this double bank, we’re not sure. But he’s the one with the power — and the one who will feel the consequences whether or not the ball lands in the pocket.


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