May 9, 2024

Stormy Daniels Is All They Have

As Donald Trump’s hush-money show trial continues, we still don’t even know what he’s being charged with.

Donald Trump can’t say it, so I will: Juan Merchan is a clown, a cartoon character, a political hack.

There. I feel better already.

Wednesday marked the weekly off day in the former president’s hush-money show trial — the one Judge Merchan has inexplicably allowed to continue despite the fact that no one even knows what Donald Trump is being charged with.

It’s true. No one knows. If you don’t believe me, find a Democrat and ask him. If he says “hush money,” tell him nondisclosure agreements aren’t a crime. If he says “falsifying business records,” tell him that’s a misdemeanor unless there’s a more serious crime attached to it.

Tell him you’ll wait.

“Perhaps the weirdest, and by far the most unjust, thing about former President Donald Trump’s trial in New York,” writes the always insightful Byron York, “is that we do not know precisely what crime Trump is charged with committing. We’re in the middle of the trial, with Trump facing a maximum of more than 100 years in prison, and we don’t even know what the charges are! It’s a surreal situation.”

Surreal is right. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution — which, when last we checked, still applies to mean-tweeters and former Republican presidents — says, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed … and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation … against him.”

Don’t get me started on that “impartial jury” crap, not when the jury pool is from a city that voted for his once and (likely) future opponent, Joe Biden, by an 85-15 margin. There’s not a city in the United States that hates Trump as much as New York City does, except maybe Washington, which isn’t technically a city. What we want to know, and what Donald Trump has a constitutional right to know, is precisely what he’s being charged with. Even Lavrentiy Beria, Joseph Stalin’s notorious secret police chief, said, “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”

So show us the crime already. York continues:

We also know that New York law allows falsifying business records to be upgraded to a felony if the alleged falsification was done with “intent to defraud that includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.” … What was the “intent to commit another crime or aid and conceal the commission thereof” that prosecutors used to raise falsification of business records from a misdemeanor to a felony? In nearly every case of alleged falsification of records that has been charged as a felony in New York, the defendant was charged with another crime — that is, prosecutors made it clear what the other crime was. In Trump’s case, the indictment did not specify any other crime. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the law did not require him to specify the other crime. So Trump faced felony charges without knowing what he was accused of doing. And the really amazing thing is that the trial is now underway and Bragg has still not specified what the other crime is.“

Trump-hating Democrats (but I repeat myself) are always prattling on about how Donald Trump isn’t above the law. That’s certainly true, but he’s not beneath the law either.

"If his name were Donald Smith,” said Republican Senator Ted Cruz on Fox News last night, “this case would’ve never been brought. … This is a political smear job. It’s not about the Rule of Law.”

To be fair, this show trial is a self-inflicted wound. Had Trump not allegedly cheated on his wife 17 years ago, none of this would be happening. But since we’re being fair, and since lawfare is the Left’s game, something else most definitely would be happening instead. Letitia James and Alvin Bragg would’ve found something else to charge him with, even if they needed somehow to upgrade an unpaid parking ticket to a felony.

As for the trial itself, everyone’s a-twitter about the testimony of Stephanie Clifford, er, Stormy Daniels, even though it was utterly irrelevant to the legal matter at hand. As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy points out, the purpose of her testimony wasn’t to find facts; it was to embarrass Trump:

As porn star Stormy Daniels’s testimony unfolds, what has always been obvious becomes even more explicit: The point of this trial is to bruise Donald Trump politically — to humiliate him with a tawdry sexual episode from nearly 20 years ago that is utterly unnecessary to prove the charges in the indictment (even as those charges have been distorted by Alvin Bragg, Manhattan’s elected progressive Democratic district attorney); and to brand Trump a “convicted felon” so that his Democratic opponent, President Biden, can refer to him that way in the run-up to the 2024 election, after which — probably a year or more after which — any convictions from this kangaroo court will be overturned on appeal.

So now, thanks to Judge Merchan, we know that, according to Stormy, she reminded Trump of his daughter Ivanka and that she “spanked” him with a rolled-up magazine.

Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley echoes McCarthy’s sentiment, noting that Daniels’s testimony was “entirely sensational and gratuitous” and that the deeply conflicted Judge Merchan — who has donated not only to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign but also to radical leftist causes such as “Progressive Turnout Project” and “Stop Republicans,” and whose daughter’s company has raised millions for top Democrats — was just fine watching Trump be humiliated. (For the record, Daniels didn’t hold up too well under cross-examination. When asked whether she hates Donald Trump, she said, “Yes.” Hmm … might she have an ax to grind?)

“The most maddening moment for the defense,” writes Turley, “came at the lunch break, when Merchan stated, ‘I agree that it would have been better if some of these things had been left unsaid.’ He then denied a motion for a mistrial based on the testimony and blamed the defense for not objecting more.”

Did you catch that? Merchan allowed Daniels’ salacious and irrelevant “evidence” in, then he chastised the defense for not objecting vehemently enough.

We can’t make this stuff up. And yet today’s trial promises still more immaterial testimony from Stormy Daniels, even though, as Turley notes, Trump’s defense team is disputing neither the existence of the non-disclosure agreement nor the hush-money payment.

We’ll say it again: Merchan is a clown. And we’ll add: This is lawfare. And Stormy Daniels is all they have.

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