Thursday, April 6, 2023
Professor Shugerman on the Trump indictment
Here. Curious to hear from knowledgeable law professors whether they agree with Professor Shugerman's assessment. (Submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear. Use a full name and valid email address [the latter will not appear].)
Just Security has an excellent post detailing all sorts of prosecutions affirmed on appeal. https://www.justsecurity.org/85831/the-broad-scope-of-intent-to-defraud-in-the-new-york-crime-of-falsifying-business-records/
They first make the point that NY law requires corporate books to be inspectable by tax and corporate regulators, so the notion that internal records cannot lead to intent to defraud regulators is a stretch. Many of the cases they cite then deal with internal records not intended to be turned over to a third party - a nurse's notes in a patient record, a guard's notes in a prison log book, and (importantly) a treasurer's entry into a campaign committee's accounting records. Most of the complaints about this prosecution, like this, have been bluster. Just Security has another post that analytically deals with the actual weaknesses of the case in a balanced assessment. It would be nice if the NY Times printed that.
Posted by: Michael Risch | Apr 6, 2023 1:37:34 PM
My Initial Reactions are here:
Here Are the Grounds to Dismiss the Trump Legal Team Will Likely Argue
Trump Indicted In Manhattan – The Legal Consequences
Prompt Dismissal By Judge, Or Juror Nullification At Trial
Posted by: LawProf John Banzhaf | Apr 6, 2023 5:02:19 PM
I will add that I haven't seen one single mention of the criminal conviction of the trump org a mere five months ago for criminal tax evasion and falsifying business records to hide it. Bragg is going to argue that this is just part and parcel with a 15 year scheme to pay as little as possible in taxes by taking personal payments and putting them on the books as expenses. I don't know if this theory will win, but the notion that this is selective or a longshot shows extreme shortsightedness by those who are commenting on it, IMO.
Posted by: Michael Risch | Apr 7, 2023 6:39:56 AM
Not a professor here--I'm a law librarian--but I find discussion in NY Criminal Law (a practice guide) that fails to address the internal "business record" issue, and one unpublished opinion from the state's trial court that makes a claim in dicta without citation about whether or not purely internal records might qualify:
"Certain kinds of purely internal records that are written and kept by a business's own employees plainly fit within this definition [of 'business records']. For example, internal accounting records—such as expense reports or payroll entries—easily qualify as business records."--People v. Dove, 15 Misc. 3d 1134(A), 841 N.Y.S.2d 822 (Sup. Ct. 2007), aff'd, 85 A.D.3d 547, 925 N.Y.S.2d 461 (2011)
Posted by: Dean C. Rowan | Apr 6, 2023 11:13:43 AM