April 16, 2024

The Trumped-Up Trump Trial Begins

In a Manhattan courtroom yesterday, the Democrats kicked off yet another desperate attempt to keep Donald Trump off the ballot.

Eight years ago, amid a class-action lawsuit over his relationship with Trump University, Donald Trump felt the need to work the refs by noting the Hispanic ancestry of the judge in his case.

“I think it has to do perhaps with the fact that I’m very, very strong on the border, very, very strong at the border, and he has been extremely hostile to me,” Trump said about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel back in 2016. That was Trump: ruffling feathers and calling things as he sees them.

Today, Trump feels no such need to gain an advantage by noting the ancestry of New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan, who’s presiding over the trumped-up, cobbled-together stinker of a hush-money case that began yesterday in Manhattan. Instead, he’s letting certain other facts speak for themselves.

Those other facts include not just Merchan’s support for Joe Biden and his relatively humble donations to Democrat causes such as the Progressive Turnout Project and Stop Republicans, but also his adult daughter’s business association with organizations that have raised at least $93 million in campaign donations by using the Trump case in their solicitation emails. Surely, this deeply conflicted judge will be an impartial decider, an objective gatekeeper of evidence and objections, in the fate of Donald Trump, right?

In addition, there seems to be a pattern here. As Trump legal spokesperson Alina Habba said last night: “Judge Merchan did the [former Trump CEO] Allen Weisselberg case. Put him in jail not once but twice. You know who else Judge Merchan is having? [Former Trump strategist] Steve Bannon. He has Steve Bannon’s case. This is no coincidence, and the American people need to know. This is election interference, and for the next six weeks, I will be loud and clear about this.”

Apparently, Trump can’t even go to his son Baron’s high school graduation because Merchan wouldn’t allow him. (Look for the judge to reconsider his decision here because it seems so fundamentally vile and because the Democrats need to, you know, keep up appearances.)

“This is an assault on America,” said Trump just before entering Judge Merchan’s courtroom yesterday morning. “Nothing like this has ever happened before. There’s never been anything like it. Every legal scholar said this case is nonsense. … This is political persecution. This is a persecution like never before.”

Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley calls this “a Rube Goldberg case that is so convoluted and counterintuitive that even liberal legal analysts criticized it.”

It surely doesn’t help that the prosecution’s star witness in this weak-on-the-merits case, Michael Cohen, is a convicted felon and inveterate liar. As Turley puts it:

Making this assorted business even more repellent will be the appearance of Cohen himself on the stand. Cohen recently was denounced by a judge as a serial perjurer who is continuing to game the system. … For those of us who have been critics of Cohen from when he was still working for Trump, it is mystifying that anyone would call him to the stand to attest to anything short of the time of day … and even then most of us would check our watches.

But this time, he’ll tell the truth. Honest.

Jury selection in the case was supposed to take place yesterday, but that got off to a slow start, with not a single one of the 12 jurors and six alternates having been selected. So Trump returns to the courtroom today with dozens of potential jurors already having been dismissed for saying that they didn’t think they could be fair.

What could go wrong in the seating of a jury whose Manhattan pool voted 10% for Trump in 2016, then a whopping 12% in 2020? Whatever jury is ultimately selected in this case, doubtless it’ll be every bit as fair and impartial as the one that awarded E. Jean Carroll a mind-boggling $83 million for a decades-old department store encounter of deeply dubious credibility.

On this front, OutKick founder and Fox News contributor Clay Travis, who himself has a law license he says he hasn’t used in 15 years, had a Simpsonesque suggestion that every Trumper everywhere has been thinking without saying: “If you’re a Trump supporter in New York City who is a part of the jury pool,” he said, “do everything you can to get seated on the jury and then refuse to convict as a matter of principle, dooming the case via hung jury. It’s the most patriotic thing you could possibly do.”

Ooooh, the lefties shrieked, that’s jury tampering! To which Travis replied: “Being charged with a crime or someone trying to disbar me for standing on the principle of opposing one party trying to put its leading political opponent in prison for the rest of his life is a fight I welcome. It just further proves my point.”

As for the risks that we as a nation run when we allow politics to trump the Rule of Law, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy described Alvin Bragg’s abominable case this way a full year ago, and his words are no less trenchant today:

A democratic republic needs the rule of law in order to survive. The rule of law hinges on the public’s acceptance of the justice system’s outcomes as legitimate. If the American people become convinced that the justice system is a rigged partisan game in which progressive Democrats exploit their control of law-enforcement processes as a weapon against their enemies — even as progressive prosecutors refuse to enforce the laws against actual criminals who prey on society — then the rule of law is dead. If that happens, then we’re left with the law of the jungle. A two-tiered justice system is no justice at all.

All this comes against a backdrop of incessantly bad polling for Joe Biden, even from The New York Times. “Do you remember the time these candidates were president as mostly good or bad years for America?” That’s just one of the questions asked by the Times/Siena College poll, but the responses were telling: 42% of respondents said the Trump years were mostly good, while just 33% said they were mostly bad. As for Biden, just 25% said his years in office have been mostly good, while a staggering 46% say they’ve been mostly bad.

Hey, if ya can’t beat ‘em, prosecute 'em.

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