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Trump Verdict Makes NYC ‘Venezuela-on-the-Hudson’

Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2024
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by Outside Contributor
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It’s hard to adequately describe what happened to Donald Trump in Venezuela-on-the-Hudson. Outrageous? A travesty of justice? A devasting blow to the sanctity of our justice system and its reputation for fairness and nonpartisanship? An American repetition of the Soviet show trials of the 1930s?

It’s all of those things. And you don’t have to be a Trump supporter to understand that.

A former president was convicted of 34 misdemeanors for paperwork errors (whose statute of limitations had run out) that were changed to felonies because he had supposedly violated another state law – nowhere mentioned in the indictment – that makes it a crime to use “unlawful” means to promote or oppose the election of a candidate.

And what was that “unlawful” means? Well, the defendant didn’t know because those other “unlawful” means (i.e., other crimes) weren’t mentioned in the indictment, either. The judge told the jurors that they didn’t need to even agree on what other crimes the defendant had committed, seemingly in conflict with hundreds of years of English and American jurisprudence, including the Constitution’s guarantee of due process of law.

No, said the judge, the jury could consider violations of tax law or a violation of federal campaign finance law or of some other unnamed law for listing as a legal expense – instead of as a campaign expense – a settlement payment made to an individual who was represented by counsel in a perfectly legitimate, and perfectly legal, transaction. But no need for a unanimous decision on that issue.

A violation of federal campaign finance law? What were a local prosecutor and a state court judge doing bringing up a violation of federal law over which they have no jurisdiction whatsoever? And if that was something the members of the jury—who know nothing about federal campaign finance law—could consider, why did the judge tell the defendant he would not allow Brad Smith, a former Federal Election Commissioner and one of the nation’s leading experts on federal campaign finance law, to explain to the jury what is considered – and what is not considered – a campaign-related expense under federal law?

The judge acted like a member of the prosecution team throughout this case, a case so lacking in merit that the prior district attorney—the one who preceded the Soros-supported rogue prosecutor Alvin Bragg—refused to file it. Judge Juan Merchan consistently ruled against Trump and allowed the prosecution to essentially do whatever it wanted, including admitting evidence and allowing testimony to matters that were completely irrelevant to the actual charges and whose only purpose was to confuse the jury and blacken the character of the defendant.

Judge Merchan committed the same sorts of error that recently prompted the New York Court of Appeals in People vs. Weinstein to throw out Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction. How so? Because the trial judge in that case abused his discretion by admitting irrelevant testimony and evidence that was comprised of, as the appeals court said, “untested allegations of nothing more than bad behavior that destroys a defendant’s character but sheds no light on their credibility as related to the criminal charges lodged against them.”

Moreover, Judge Merchan should never have presided over this case in the first place, just like this prosecution should never have been brought in the first place. Merchan should have recused himself from handling it from the very beginning. In addition to the fact that he donated money to the Biden campaign as well as to a group called “Stop Republicans,” his daughter is a Democratic political consultant who worked for the Biden-Harris campaign and whose clients have been raising money off of this kangaroo court trial.

After a six-week trial, the jury took less than two days to find Trump guilty of 34 felony charges. This hardly seems like enough time to take a hard, objective look at the lack of evidence produced by the prosecution that an actual crime had been committed. This suggests that political bias and animus towards the defendant for reasons unconnected to the case may have been a decisive — if not the decisive — factor during their hasty deliberations.

This is especially true given the only people who could provide any insight into what Trump did and what he knew with respect to the alleged offenses were Allen Weisselberg—the Trump Organization’s CFO whom the prosecution did not call as a witness—and Michael Cohen—who lied under oath on innumerable prior occasions, admitted that he hates Donald Trump, blames Trump for everything that has gone wrong in his life, stole from Trump, recorded their conversations in violation of the attorney-client privilege, and said he would profit handsomely if Trump is convicted.

When the defense team files its appeals brief, it will probably have to be the size of the novel, “War and Peace,” to list all of the legal errors and fallacies committed by the judge and the prosecution. The Appeals Court of New York should follow the example of the U.S. Supreme Court. When Trump’s lawyers filed an appeal with that court over Colorado’s unconstitutional action in disqualifying Trump from the ballot, the court acted with unprecedented speed to put the matter on an expedited schedule in order to get a decision out as soon as possible.

The New York courts have a duty and responsibility to do the same thing. I don’t have a lot of faith in those courts, many of whose judges, as we have seen in this case and the meritless civil case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, seem infected with partisan politics influencing what they do.

One final point about all of this. One of my colleagues just got back from an international conference that had representatives from all over the world, including many third-world countries. Their reaction to these prosecutions of the former president was that the United States had finally joined the ranks of their home countries where their governments use the judicial system to go after their political opponents.

It is a sad day for America and a justice system that was, until now, much admired and copied around the world.

Reprinted with Permission From DC Journal – By Hans A. von Spakovsky.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AMAC or AMAC Action.

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Michael G. Venaccio
Michael G. Venaccio
12 days ago

Excellent summary, thanks. So let me see if I have this correct: The payment to Ms. Daniels was NOT illegal, but somehow a legal act is made illegal because it was a conspiracy, not charged, to influence the outcome of a STATE election by fraud. If the underlying event, the payment is legal, HOW can it be a fraud?? The payments were booked After the election by a bookkeeper from an invoice that Mr. Trump did not direct to be classified.
Me. Costello stated that Mr. Trump WAS NOT AWARE of the payments. The whole case is built on sand. What am I missing other than the desire for election interference??

Theresa Coughlin
Theresa Coughlin
12 days ago

when it comes to descriptions of the case, I have a few more. How about one huge reversible error? Or how about one huge constitutional violation after another? It is an absolute disgrace how this case was handled and for no other reason other than to keep Trump off the campaign trail and to be able to call him a convicted felon. I hope the lawfare blows up in the democrats faces and they get their butts handed to them in November. It would serve them right.

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
12 days ago

This article is one of the best descriptions of the Donald Trump trial in New York, well done Hans A. von Spakovsky , it is sincerely appreciated. I am a 73 year old Reagan Conservative and straight talk , honest talk is always good to hear and good to read. Principles are what holds a Nation together. The National Character is a reflection of the culture that is an influence on how people think. A culture that respects the qualities of good character is headed in the right direction; a culture that disrespects the qualities of good character will be headed in the wrong direction. With this article I would say that you have made a significant contribution to improving the outlook of many Americans eager to get a better understanding of what took place with the recent Donald Trump trial in New York. And that is commendable Again , Well Done for this writing ! In the spirit of Faith, Family and Freedom. Thoughts of Courage, Truth , Integrity , Liberty, encouragement of living with a sense of purpose and being guided by a code of conduct — and respect for the rule of law.

Michael Stevens
Michael Stevens
9 days ago

This is so legally complicated it’s mind boggling. So after all is said and done, can Trump sue Stormy Daniels for violation of ‘hush money’ payments that were obviously NOT kept hushed? Apparently that act was not a crime, but if somebody pays someone else to keep their mouth shut and they DON’T, sounds like a case to me…..

anna hubert
anna hubert
12 days ago

We’ve been on a slippery slope since we became from one many so now we are a handful of crumbs with nothing in common since we now have diversity over unity Tribalism and animosity egged on by the “leaders” Not exactly a recipe for success

Capn Bob
Capn Bob
10 days ago

The court system of New York District looked the same as the old deep South and Donald Trump was black, instead of a conservative patriot who loves America and is willing to sacrifice all for it. Watch ‘To kill a Mockingbird ‘ and you will see the jury, witnesses, and the prosecutor, the only difference is Aticus Finch had a little better chance getting Tom Robinson off because at least the judge was a God fearing fair-minded Christian unlike the judge Donald Trump had. So if you are a conservative patriotic American your chances of getting a fair trial these days are about like getting a cold day in hell.

rrr
rrr
12 days ago

trump needs to be sentenced to the maximum of over 100 years in jail

rrr
rrr
12 days ago

wrong, politicians get away with way too much and they need to be prosecuted far more, the 34 felonies trump was found guilty of was only the tip of the iceberg for him and his family, now the bidens are guilty of plenty of felonies too and should be prosecuted, many members of congress are felons too

rrr
rrr
12 days ago

put all these politicians on trial and stop with the bs immunity, trump is convicted of 34 felonies and is guilty of countless others, but biden commits plenty of felonies too as do most politicians, lock them all up

John Shipway
John Shipway
12 days ago

Actually the Venezuela is incorrect as their citizens actually did elect their current President in a landslide over the CIA implanted candidate the corruptocracy in the form of the USA desired and then LITERALLY ran the CIA plant out of their country.
Now, in Venezuelas past………perhaps but unlike here in the US some countries progress positively.

Come one now
Come one now
12 days ago

Hans a von spakovsky?
that sounds like badly made travel name for a Russian gun smuggler lol

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