Legal Expert Jonathan Turley Provides Ray of Hope After Trump Guilty Verdict: ‘The Case Will Be Reversed’

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley believes New York Judge Juan Merchan clearly committed reversible error to help a New York jury convict former President Donald Trump on Thursday.

The 12 jurors found Trump guilty on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in relation to payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and others during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I obviously disagree with this verdict as do many others. I believe that the case will be reversed eventually either in the state or federal systems,” Turley wrote on X.

“However, this was the worst expectation for a trial in Manhattan. I am saddened by the result more for the New York legal system than the former president,” he continued. “I had hoped that the jurors might redeem the integrity of a system that has been used for political purposes.”


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Turley elaborated on Fox News on what grounds the case would likely be reversed.

“When they were reading those guilty verdicts, the one thing we didn’t know was what he was guilty of, because if you remember, the judge allowed the jury to find guilt on any one of three secondary crimes,” he noted.

“That’s one of the many issues that I think presents reversible problems in this case,” the law professor said.

“For those upset by this verdict, remember, this remains a country committed to the rule of law, and this is going to go up on appeal. I think it’s going to be reversed in the state or federal systems,” Turley said.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicted Trump last spring on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, taking what are normally misdemeanor violations and making them felonies by alleging that Trump was seeking to hide an underlying crime.

But Bragg was not clear on what the underlying crime was, although he suggested when he announced the charges that it had to do with a reported $130,000 payment made to Daniels.

In his jury instructions, Merchan told the 12 jurors that if they found Trump guilty of violating New York tax law, federal campaign finance law (which New York has no jurisdiction over) or falsifying other business records such as bank records, they could convict the former president on the primary crime of falsifying business records.


Initial Post-Verdict Poll Will Have Democrats Screaming in Terror

In other words, the jury breakdown could be four-four-four in what they believed Trump did wrong, which is certainly not the unanimous verdict required under our system of criminal justice.

It also raises grounds for appeal under the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, which states the defendant has the right “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.” In other words, one has to know precisely what he or she is being accused of in order to prepare a legal defense.

Trump posted on Truth Social ahead of Thursday’s verdict that Merchan did not allow him to present evidence that he had not violated tax law.

Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy said Wednesday on Fox News concerning Merchan’s jury instructions, “It’s really outrageous, because in a normal criminal case, every statutory crime has what we call elements of the offense.”

“Those are the things the jury has to agree on unanimously that were proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” he explained.

In this case, “What makes it a felony is that you’re concealing or committing another crime, and here the judge is telling them they don’t have to agree about what the other crime is,” McCarthy said.

Additionally, Trump has the right, under the Sixth Amendment, to “have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor,” which Merchan also denied.

Trump’s attorneys wanted to put former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith on the stand, but the judge so limited his testimony that they decided it would be of no help to the case.

Do you think Trump’s convictions will be reversed?

What Smith said he was fully prepared to address was a question at the heart of the matter: Did a payment Michael Cohen, then Trump’s personal attorney, made to Daniels qualify as a campaign expense?

And Smith’s testimony to the jury would have been, “No.”

Both the FEC and the Department of Justice had looked at the Daniels payment and decided not to prosecute Trump.

“Federal law does not say that anything that you think might help you win an election is a campaign expense. Rather, it’s an objective test, in which things like polling, paying for staff, paying for headquarters, paying for advertisements and so on — those are campaign expenses,” Smith told Fox News host Laura Ingraham in March.

“That’s the problem that the DA has,” he continued. “He’s trying to allege that these payments to Stormy Daniels were campaign expenses, and I think, quite clearly, they exist from an obligation independent of Mr. Trump’s campaign for president.”

So Trump has solid grounds on which to appeal either at the state or federal level.

In the meantime, the 2024 campaign goes on!

A Note from Our Deputy Managing Editor:


I heard a chilling comment the other day: “We don’t even know if an election will be held in 2024.” 


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Josh Manning

Deputy Managing Editor

The Western Journal


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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book “We Hold These Truths” and screenwriter of the political documentary “I Want Your Money.”


Harrisburg, Pennsylvania




Graduated dean’s list from West Point


United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law

Books Written

We Hold These Truths

Professional Memberships

Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars


Phoenix, Arizona

Languages Spoken


Topics of Expertise

Politics, Entertainment, Faith

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