Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg touched on why his office moved forward with the indictment of former President Donald Trump for falsifying business records during a news conference Tuesday.
CNN legal analyst Elie Honig notes that the DA's office will need to prove that Trump and his team falsified records with the intent of committing another crime in order for the charge to bump up from a misdemeanor to a felony.
"The core conduct that is charged in this indictment is the payment of hush money. Now, payment of hush money is not a crime. It's not a federal crime. It's not a state crime," Honig explained.
The DA's office is "relying on a state law that makes it, in the first instance, a misdemeanor to falsify business records. These are the repayments to Michael Cohen that were falsely logged within the Trump Organization as legal fees — when they were not legal fees. One of the complicated legal questions here is; in order to bump that up from a misdemeanor to a felony, you have to show that those records were falsified to commit some other crime. Some second crime," Honig told CNN's Anderson Cooper.
The DA's office did mention federal and state campaign laws during his remarks, which Honig said, could be where more legal questions come up.
Honig also highlighted how the DA's office did not say what that alleged second crime is, an issue the defense lawyers "rightly" complained about because the purpose of an indictment is to serve notice to the defendant on what they're being charged with.