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As Trump’s NYC trial begins, Supreme Court justices' warnings about political lawfare echo


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Former President Donald Trump’s Manhattan trial began opening arguments and saw testimony from the prosecution’s first witness on Monday one week after several U.S. Supreme Court Justices appeared to raise concerns about the increasing prevalence of political prosecutions in the United States

 

Specifically, two justices highlighted the apparent contradictions in the Biden administration’s selective enforcement of certain provisions against January 6 protestors. The high court’s ruling in this case may have implications for Trump too. He is charged with the same crime, obstructing an official proceeding in one of his federal cases.

The Justices’ concerns mirror President Trump’s own contentions that he is a victim of political persecution at the hands of his chief political rival, incumbent President Joe Biden, as well as the Manhattan District Attorney and New York Attorney General Letitia James, both Democrats.

 

 

“It was election fraud, pure and simple,” Colangelo reportedly told the jury, seeking to paint Trump’s alleged efforts to conceal damaging election information as an improper effort to influence the election outcome.

Trump views the cases arrayed against him, both state and federal, as a continuation of Democratic efforts to delegitimize his 2016 election, and subsequent presidential term.

“They had the Mueller hoax, the Mueller report, and that came out, no collusion after two and a half years…that was set up by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats,” Trump said after charges in his federal classified documents case were filed last summer.

“But this is what they do. This is what they do so well, if they would devote their energies to honestly and integrity, to be a lot better for our country, they could do a lot better,” he added.

Celebrity lawyer and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz  said Monday he sees “partisan purposes” in the prosecution in the face of evidence the actually case against the former president is weak.:snip:

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Matthew Whitaker: Conflicts of Interest Abound in Judge Merchan’s Handling of the Trump Sham Trial

One of America’s foundational principles is “equal justice under the law,” or the principle that no matter who you are or what you stand for, you are entitled to a fair chance to make your case in a court of law. That’s why the Lady Justice statue outside the Supreme Court wears a blindfold and holds a scale—the blindfold to symbolize her impartiality and immunity from outside influences, and the scale to signify her objective weighing of the evidence in front of her.

Unfortunately, this bedrock principle of American self-government has been put in jeopardy by the trial of President Donald Trump currently underway in New York. Though most Americans expect our judges to be neutral arbiters of the law, Judge Juan Merchan, the judge overseeing this trial against President Trump, is anything but.:snip:

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Prosecutors' Tortuous Trump Case Is 'Confusing' to Nearly Everyone

The first witness in Donald Trump's trial for alleged "criminal" bookkeeping errors came with National Enquirer-worthy titillations about what a hot commodity the former president was back in the day. Prosecutors thought they'd burst out of the gate with a little razzle-dazzle and T&A, hoping that jurors would believe the witness had anything to do with the actual charges in the case. This is because — spoiler alert — the prosecutors' actual case is a "confusing" distraction. It's the "Seinfeld" of legal cases.

 

But since a Manhattan jury will likely convict the former president because Orange Man Bad, here's what happened in court with the opening witness on truncated court sessions Monday and Tuesday. 

David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, testified that he worked with Trump's lawyer to kill stories that hurt Trump's reputation or would be hurtful to his wife and family. This is the so-called catch-and-kill scheme, wherein sources would approach the Enquirer with an unflattering story about Trump (this applies to Hollywood stars and big shots), offer money to the people telling it, and then make the story disappear.

And it went something like this:

  • Pecker reportedly would alert Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, about the titillating story. 
  • Cohen got three sources to sign a non-disclosure agreement for a sum of money. 
  • Trump paid his legal bills, which covered Cohen's incurred costs plus more.

All of the above is legal.:snip:

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