Professor and Senior Scholar Steve Friedland has provided legal analysis for national news outlets in their coverage of investigations into 2016 hush-money payments made by President Donald Trump.
A professor who was among several on the Elon Law faculty to earn international media attention a decade ago for their analyses of a North Carolina political scandal has been featured in news reports about potential indictments in New York on similar charges against former President Donald Trump.
Professor and Senior Scholar Steve Friedland, a former federal prosecutor, spoke with journalists from CNN and ABC News for their stories about Trump’s 2016 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the days before his election in an effort to keep secret an alleged affair.
The stories about Trump indicate that it isn’t clear what state law a Manhattan DA believes the former president may have violated, and that regardless, state authorities attempting to prosecute someone based on federal election laws “appears to be untested.”
The parallels for Trump most closely appear to be the 2012 federal trial against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. Edwards was acquitted of one count and the jury was hung on additional counts related to campaign donors who secretly funneled nearly $1 million to Edwards’ pregnant mistress during his 2008 campaign for the White House.
Friedland attended much of the 2012 Edwards trial in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, and his knowledge of the case led him to be interviewed by both national news outlets.
“It’s the most closely available precedent for this situation, and that’s not a good track record for someone looking to bring a similar case,” said Steven Friedland, an Elon University law professor who attended much of Edwards’ six-week federal trial in Greensboro, North Carolina in 2012.
Friedland noted that alleging a campaign finance rules violation was a “novel” approach to bringing criminal charges in Edwards’ case, and that it remains so today. “It isn’t a well-established violation of criminal law,” he said.
Friedland is a founding member of the Elon Law faculty and a former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. He has published articles in multiple top law reviews, and his books on evidence law, constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, and law school teaching have been published by the West Publishing Company, Aspen Press, Lexis Publishing Company and Carolina Academic Press.