Fact check: No, the New York criminal case against Donald Trump isn’t “dead”

Earlier today the Associated Press published an article whose headline declares that the SDNY’s federal criminal case against Donald Trump in the Stormy Daniels – Michael Cohen scandal is “dead.” This headline has instantly resulted in the widespread impression that Trump is not being prosecuted for this scandal, and that he will in fact go free. But this is false, and even the AP’s own article grudgingly admits as much in its eighteenth paragraph.

More than a year ago it was widely reported that the Feds at the SDNY had dropped this matter, thus giving the greenlight for New York State to run with the case. Since that time, the Manhattan District Attorney has been running a widely documented grand jury into Trump’s finances, which has included the Daniels-Cohen scandal. In fact this is the DA who famously subpoenaed Trump’s tax returns, resulting in a Supreme Court ruling on the matter, in furtherance of this case.

This case is very much still alive, expanding, and accelerating. On January 15th, the Guardian reported that the Manhattan DA’s office had just met with Michael Cohen again, in furtherance of this case. On January 21st, the New York Daily News reported that the DA plans to continue meeting with Cohen regarding this case.

It couldn’t be more clear that Donald Trump’s Daniels-Cohen scandal is being actively investigated and pursued. It’s just that, as has been the case for some time, it’s being pursued at the state level, and not the federal level. The eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth paragraphs of the errant Associated Press article acknowledge this in detail. But when a headline gives a false impression, and the first seventeen paragraphs of that article reinforce that false impression, few readers will make it as far as the eighteenth paragraph.

This AP article appears to fit the media’s classic trope of constructing a misleading doomsday headline and lede around an out-of-context piece of information, with the specific intent of shocking and angering the public into sharing the article, all while covering itself by quietly acknowledging in its final paragraphs that the entire thing is a non-story. The AP should revise this headline to make it honest, and acknowledge the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal case above the fold of the article.

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