Rep. Lee Zeldin Criticizes Trump’s Conviction, Predicts Stronger Support for Former President

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Democrats “unleashed a beast” and opened a “can of worms” with the conviction of former President Donald Trump on Thursday, former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said during an interview on Saturday, referencing how Americans who had “supported him before” are supporting him “more intensely now.”

Zeldin spoke about how this was a “misdemeanor” that was “elevated to a felony” without even informing Trump what he was being charged with.

“President Trump is absolutely right for wanting to appeal. He should. I’m sure he woke up the next day wanting to fight harder than he ever has, and, for tens of millions of Americans who supported him before, they support him more intensely now, and I know: I’ve seen on social media. There are a lot of people who never supported President Trump, [but], after they watched this travesty, they woke up the next day deciding that, yeah, for the first time ever, they were going to support President Trump. And they’re articulating as if they are willing to walk on broken glass to support President Trump. They went from independent, undecided, to strong, passionate, loyal supporters because of what they [Democrats] did. Man, they unleashed a beast. This is a can of worms that was opened, and it’s up to the rest of us to make sure November 5 is the final verdict,” Zeldin continued.

When asked if he thought there were a “bunch” of “reversible errors” that Judge Juan Merchan had made while overseeing the trial and if he thought the case would be overturned on appeal, Zeldin said, “It absolutely should be overturned.”

Judge Juan Merchan poses for a picture in his chambers in New York, Thursday, March 14, 2024. Merchan could become the first judge ever to oversee a former U.S. president’s criminal trial. He's presiding over Donald Trump’s hush money case in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Judge Juan Merchan (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“It absolutely should be overturned on appeal, and I just referenced one of the reversible errors: the fact that they didn’t even tell the accused what this mysterious element was that was going to allow them to elevate this from a misdemeanor to a felony. I mean, you well know that the statute of limitations had run. They couldn’t bring the charge. And, they want to say, ‘Convicted felon.’ You start thinking of like, all the serious cases of how someone ends up being convicted of a felony. This is a misdemeanor; he was really accused of a misdemeanor, but they couldn’t charge him with a misdemeanor because, one, they wanted the talking point, and, two, the statute of limitations had run. I’ll give you another one: allowing Stormy Daniels to go, in her testimony, on and on about all sorts of salacious details to prejudice the jury and to maybe get some headlines in the newspaper. That had nothing to do with proving the elements of the crime. I mean, they were intentionally prejudicing the case and the jury. And, then on top of it, the gag order saying that President Trump isn’t even allowed to defend himself while this is all going on in the middle of a presidential race. So, I’m sure that this appeal is going to be based on procedure and substance, things that [were] wrong with the way the judge decided certain aspects of this case early and often, the way that the prosecutor handled this case early and often,” Zeldin added.

Zeldin added that while it would “be a challenge inside the New York State appellate courts,” given how officials have “changed the judiciary over the course of the last few years to get left-wing activist judges,” people still hoped that “inside of the federal judicial system and on their way up to the United States Supreme Court” there would be an intervention of some sort.

Donald Trump

Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 29, 2024, in New York City. (Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

“At the end of the day, by the way, they claimed that the underlying charge was a federal campaign finance violation. Why would the Manhattan district attorney be the one charging that? And, after the Department of Justice declined to prosecute, after the FEC declined to go after it, after Cyrus Vance, Alvin Bragg’s predecessor refused to go after it, I don’t know of any district attorney in New York — maybe it happened at some point, I just can’t for the life of me think of it — I can’t think of any district attorney who’s ever been prosecuting a federal campaign finance violation. I sure as heck don’t remember anyone prosecuting it where you didn’t tell anyone that you were accusing the defendant of violating a federal campaign finance violation until you get to the end of your closing statement,” Zeldin added.

Elizabeth Weibel
Elizabeth Weibel
Maryland raised. Virginia based.

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