Trump Guilty… What’s next?

A Manhattan jury found former President Donald Trump guilty of all 34 counts of falsifying business records. The jurors said they unanimously agreed Trump falsified those business records to conceal a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in order to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. Here are the details of those felony counts.

  • NPR’s Andrea Bernstein was sitting in the front of the courtroom and told Up First that Trump was “visibly unhappy” with the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Trump denounced the trial as a “disgrace” and said “the real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people.” Bernstein adds that this time is different: Trump used his money and power to silence people and avoid consequences, a strategy that always worked for him—until yesterday.
  • The jury heard from 22 witnesses over the course of four weeks, and examined evidence including phone records, invoices and checks to Michael Cohen, Trump’s former “fixer” who paid Daniels to bury the news of her sexual encounter with Trump.
  • Kim Wehle, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, says this evidence, along with the fact that “the defense didn’t give an alternative narrative” is ultimately what convicted Trump.

The charges carry a sentence of anywhere from probation to up to four years in prison, but legal experts told NPR that it’s unlikely Trump will face incarceration.

  • Lauren-Brooke Eisen, a senior director at the nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice, told NPR’s Ximena Bustillo before the trial’s conclusion that it’s “very unlikely for someone who has never been convicted of a crime to go to prison… for their first offense, which is nonviolent.”
  • Trump’s legal team is also likely to appeal the verdict, which would further delay any potential consequences.

https://www.npr.org/2024/05/31/g-s1-2086/former-president-trump-found-guilty-on-all-34-felony-charges-in-hush-money-trial

Comment: He wasn’t tried for raw dogging a porn star or paying her off. All that’s perfectly legal in the state of New York. The 34 counts he was found guilty of seem to refer to specific business documents that were falsified. Those documents were the crux of the prosecutor’s case. That and the underlying crime of doing so to influence an election. It was a unique prosecution to raise misdemeanor offenses to felony offenses, but it is New York law. As unique as it was, twelve jurors and a grand jury found it convincing.

I didn’t follow the trial so I don’t know how vigorously Trump’s defense lawyers went after those documents. TV coverage was all about how hard they went after  Michael Cohen. I don’t think Trump’s lawyers did him any favors concentrating on Cohen. The prosecution already established Cohen as a liar, convicted perjurer and what an all around sleaze he was early in trial. I don’t know if they made the point to the jury that this liar, convicted perjurer and all around sleaze was Trump’s right hand man for years, but I think the jurors made that connection.

So what happens now? I don’t think much will happen. I don’t think this will gain or lose many votes for Trump. Those who hate him still hate him. Those who love him still love him. Those who believe in the integrity of our judicial system still believe in it. Those who don’t, still don’t. Trump said he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes. I believe it. I’m waiting for the narcocorridos to replace “Macho Man” at the rallies. Those who rant and rave about rising up and starting a civil war will continue to rant and rave, but that’s all they’ll do.

TTG 

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151 Responses to Trump Guilty… What’s next?

  1. leith says:

    Judge won’t put him in prison. Probation and fine maybe. But it will be tied up in appeals until at least next year.

    • F&L says:

      A funny observation is that he is a first time offender and therefore won’t do time. Guilty on 34 counts but still a first time offender? only robbed 34 banks? Raped 34 people? Set fire to 34 buildings?

      • TTG says:

        F&L,

        It’s still really one crime with 34 pieces of evidence of that one crime. The piling on of charges is not unusual, but it’s still a sleazy prosecutorial practice. Being that the practice of law is nitpicking and twisting language, maybe it has to be this way.

        • Stefan says:

          Common practice and a tool to get the vast majority of people to plead guilty rather than face trial and the potential prison sentence that normally would come with multiple felony convictions. This is how the justice system has worked for decades. To the point where innocent people will sometimes plead guilty rather than roll the dice and potentially spend years and years in prison. The system has never really been fair. You get about as much justice as you can pay for.

          A conviction doesn’t impact the rich like it does 99% of everyone else. Get a conviction and not be in the 1%. Good luck finding a job, an apartment community that will rent to you, getting licensed in a wide array of jobs. Aside from the fact that the rich get convicted less often, get less prison time when they do, it just doesn’t have the life altering implications it has on others.

        • Fred says:

          TTG,

          what one crime is that? The Russia Collusion Mueller couldn’t find or something different?

          • TTG says:

            Fred,

            NY Penal Law § 170.10: Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. Trump was found guilty of 34 counts of that crime. How did you miss that?

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            Who was defrauded, the national electorate? What is the statuette of limitations (five years) and how does that state law add up to a federal election felony? Did you miss that one? As an aside what did Stormy know about business records and how would that otherwise salacious testimony be relevant?

        • Jim. says:

          President Trumps Trial…Was Due Process…And Judgement by His “Peers”…? Fair and Balanced..
          Brought in By High Speed Rail Roading..?
          The Kind that Creates a “Trail of Tears”…to Oklahoma.

          By a Judge…and Prosecution Team…Who Made Sure
          The Glove of Strangulation..Which Gagged Him…Was Extra Large…and
          Fit Donald Trump…34 Times…Disgraceful Conduct..
          by All The “Fixers.”…Unethical..UnAmerican..Those Who Buy And Sell…Politicians..
          .Hungarian..British..Wall Street…..The “Fixers..”… The Eagle Eye is Watching…

          Olive Branches And Arrows….Preserve..Protect..Defend.

          • Jim. says:

            I Have Never Seen So Many People Ignore The Obvious..Operation……
            “Fundamentally Change The United States”
            and The Power of the Planners..To Do It..

            The Conduct..The Timing..The Jury Instructions.

            The “Judge” set Sentencing For July 11th..2024

            Another Remarkable Coincidence..

            On July 11th…1804…Aaron Burr Shot and
            Killed General Alexander Hamiltion. who..Died on the 12th…

            Burr The Angry Vice President..Who Lost..The Presidency..Then Baited General Hamilton..

            A Federalist against The Republican Democrat

            But …All Coincidence. Nothing To See..Move On..Watch the Joe Show..Compromise Campaign.. Border. Control….Inflation..Lower Gas Prices..Peace Maker…Dealer..Aces and Spades…Gene, Gene Made a Machine..Joe..Joe..
            Made it Go…The Ghost Biker…

        • F&L says:

          TTG,

          Couldn’t have said it better.

      • leith says:

        F&L –

        Each of the 34 falsified checks, invoices and ledger entries were a separate offense. Piling on? Maybe not, they do it to everybody and not just to Trump. 11 or 12 would probably have covered it. But all, whether 34 or 11, would have been misdemeanors without the intent to commit election fraud. So my question is: ‘Did it break New York State election laws or federal election laws, or both’? That could make a difference when SCOTUS takes up the case.

        But no matter. The conviction isn’t going to change the mind of his base. Might even get him more votes as he uses it to portray himself as a martyr. And he is loving the attention it gets him. It’s proving to be a fundraising bonanza.

  2. F&L says:

    I agree with your comments. It’s fairly pitiful. In essence no one has it in them to care about this anymore, I know I don’t. You paid precisely enough attention to the procedings to determine that it was a very peculiar trial. To add to this spectacle you have the Congress of the USA inviting an international war criminal – Netanyahu – to address both houses which IMO is a historic disgrace especially the context of the ongoing slaughter. What kind of riots will ensue if they go ahead with it?

    • Laura Wilson says:

      I think what we are all missing is that this was a very normal trial. The defendant may be a little abnormal but the trial process was point by point just the way every white collar trial happens in NYC. NO biggie…just another defendant and 12 New Yorkers rendered a verdict.

      Trump wants to be special…in this instance, not so much. (And I think that is the part he just cannot stand!)

  3. Keith Harbaugh says:

    “Those who believe in the integrity of our judicial system still believe in it.”

    There are some exceptions. E.g.
    Elie Hoenig
    “Prosecutors Got Trump – But They Contorted the Law”
    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/trump-was-convicted-but-prosecutors-contorted-the-law.html
    (If that is behind a paywall, see this:
    CNN legal guru says New York Trump prosecutors ‘contorted the law,’ case was ‘unjustified mess’
    https://www.foxnews.com/media/cnn-legal-guru-says-new-york-trump-prosecutors-contorted-law-case-unjustified-mess )

    GWU law professor Jonathan Turley has been quite critical of both the prosecutors and Judge Merchan.
    https://jonathanturley.org/2024/05/30/a-manhattan-canned-hunt-the-trump-jury-is-out-but-is-the-case-in-the-bag/
    https://jonathanturley.org/2024/06/01/the-ghost-of-john-adams-how-the-trump-trial-harkens-back-to-a-dark-period-of-american-law/

    the Trump prosecution has forced many to confront
    the undeniable reality of the politicization of our legal system.

    When even legal scholars write such, it seems notable to me.

    • John Minehan says:

      My thought is that Trump’s major issue on appeal is the jury instructions. However, a reversal on that basic will only generate a re-trial (and likely, a re-conviction).

      I also think that Trump’s conduct during his trial and the fact that other felony charges are pending in other jurisdictions more than justify incarceration, as a “fear of flight risk.”

      Major donors and GOP Sachems would be wise to pressure Trump to suspend his campaign and allow for an open convention to pick a candidate with some chance to win,

      Trump’s dance card is just too full . . . .

    • John Minehan says:

      I had a professor in law school who used to ask. “Do you want to be a test case?” The answer is “No.” However, sometimes you have to be.

      Sometimes there are things hidden in the law that most people don’t see (like the fact that no one had made a successful claim for stumpage against an orchard in almost 200 years of NY cases on the matter or that a NY Common Law of Employee benefits existed before ERISA which applies to people given benefits who are not employees under ERISA.

      What DA Bragg has done here, looks like that kind of thing/

      I think Bragg’s undergirding legal theory is sound and has a good chance of getting upheld on appeal.

      I think the jury instructions will be a bigger issue, but a reversal on that basis will get the case sent back for re-trial . . . and likely re-conviction.

  4. Lars says:

    What is truly extraordinary is that 12 people who seldom can agree on one item did so 34 times. I think the long term effect will be damaging to Trump, both politically and mentally. Of course, many in the GOP are moaning about it, but that is because they have to. To agree that he is guilty will require them to admit that they are not very smart. But that is a dilemma of their own making.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      The jury consisted of a bunch of progressives with TDS. 34 charges is a joke. It’s all the same charge, really. It would be like you got caught jaywalking and it took 34 steps to cross the street. So you were charged with 34 counts of jaywalking.

      What was Trump’s heinous crime? Merely how a reimbursement to Michael Cohen was labeled in Trump’s books. Yes, Cohen made hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, who alleged a sexual encounter w/ Trump to keep shut the slimy whore up. NY then construed the way Trump handle the payment in his books to be an effort to commit fraud to influence the outcome of an election.

      Obviously that is a complete BS charge. What everyone here so far is missing is that if that is going to be the new legal standard and it is how political opponents are going to treated, then there are going to be a whole of politicians, of all parties, going to prison because I guarantee that just about everyone who ever sat in congress or the Whitehouse has paid hush money to accusers real and false. In fact they’ve done far worse.

      What of Hillery and her involvement in the phony Russian collusion story + all the irresponsible news agencies repeating the story without due diligence? Not fraud to influence an election? The FBI shutting down the Hunter laptop story saying it was Russian disinfo? Even going to Twitter and having a personal meeting with its leadership to ban the story. What of all those foreign government payments to “the big guy”?

      Justice applied unequally will bring about the end of our system, which will make a lot of people across the globe, especially Russia and China, but also the WEF crowd, happy. That is why these Soros funded activists in the DA’s offices are eager to bring ridiculous cases against their enemy (Trump and his supporters). So I hope the Republicans start brings cases against every conceivable democrat target, including the Bidens, Obamas and Clintons. 100% there are laws that those people have broken and can be jailed over.

      Anyhow, Trump’s donation site blew up following the verdict. Lifelong democrat donors are on twitter saying they are now donating big time to Trump. At least some people get the seriousness of political persecution by the justice system and want to make a statement against it.

      • Lars says:

        To make your comparison valid, you would have to make 34 trips across the street. The charges against Trump had to do with the numerous times he falsified records in his attempt to hide the payoff. This was not about politics, as his defenders claim. It was a criminal case and the prosecution did a good job. Trump’s lawyers did not. It is also not the first time that the cover up created more trouble than the actual action. But one aspect is that Trump will not shoot anyone on Fifth Avenue anymore, unless he uses an illegal gun.

        • Fred says:

          Lars,

          This has little to do with “falsified documents” (to which Stormy the porn star did not testify) and everything to do with the election of 2020, i.e. conspiring to pay off a whore to allow him to get elected. If you say “convicted felon” enough it might make everyone feel better though. So now, like Mandela and MLK, he’s been convicted. Well, except no judgement has been filed yet since those appeals will happen – unless the assassination happens first.

          • F&L says:

            I don’t think anyone is going to kill him.

          • Fred says:

            F&L,

            Sure “died suddenly”; or is it the newest bird flu?

          • leith says:

            More likely he’ll end up with high-ticket nursing care in Mar-a-Lago.

          • TonyL says:

            Fred,

            “assassination “. You know how ridiculous it sounds? OTOH, I’d totally understand why a demagogue Trump would make that up to incite hatred.

          • TonyL says:

            “demagogue like Trump”

          • Fred says:

            Tony L,

            Your feelings hurt because someone pointed out the obvious?

          • mike a says:

            Trump already has one foot in the grave Fred. He was born in ’46, is grossly overweight, has to wear Depends and he’s showing signs of mental decay in his speeches. So you’re saying that you and Qanon are going to unleash an assassination conspiracy when he croaks of natural causes?

        • TonyL says:

          Fred,

          “So now, like Mandela and MLK, he’s been convicted. Well, except no judgement has been filed yet since those appeals will happen – unless the assassination happens first.”

          No hurt feeling. Just an observation how ridiculous and fascist the rhetorics coming from Trump and his supporters.

          Also, mentioning Mandela and MLK in the same sentence about Trump is equally insane.

          • Fred says:

            “fascist the rhetorics” “equally insane”

            The epitome of calm and rational discourse.

    • TonyL says:

      Lars,

      “To agree that he is guilty will require them to admit that they are not very smart”

      Exactly.

      If he goes to real prison, the Secret Service agents would have to go to prison, too 🙂 So the best is a sentence to serve at home. When a douchebag like Trump is serving time for any crime he commited, I’ll have a few drinks to celebrate.

      • al says:

        An ankle bracelet without jewels would be nice to see on Trump. A minute by minute reminder for him.

        I think the Judge might well provide some sentence time in the Trump Tower for Trump as a “‘time to reflect” for his repeated gag order violations, as I recall there is still one hanging to be resolved.

    • Laura Wilson says:

      I think what we are all missing is that this was a very normal trial. The defendant may be a little abnormal but the trial process was point by point just the way every white collar trial happens in NYC. NO biggie…just another defendant and 12 New Yorkers rendered a verdict.

      Trump wants to be special…in this instance, not so much. (And I think that is the part he just cannot stand!)

  5. Fred says:

    “The 34 counts he was found guilty of seem to refer ….”

    You mean you don’t know what they actually referred too?

    “The jury heard from 22 witnesses…”
    What was the testimony of the head of the FEC?
    “TV coverage was all about how hard they went after Michael Cohen. …”
    Which of the many TV broadcasters available only had that coverage?

    “So what happens now? ”
    Donald J. Trump did not kill himself.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Yes, he did not kill himself.

      I’ve been saying all along that Trump is unstoppable b/c
      1. he is obviously very clean if all they can do is go after him with lies (Russian collusion) and abject BS like this NY case – and this will cause a martyr syndrome in Trump’s favor and a backlash against the deep state
      2. The democrats are clearly destroying the economy and the country generally with open borders, dick chopping, defunding police, Hamas worshipping, antisemitism, etc. and everyone can see it. The situation is such that the people are beyond gaslighting by the deep state and media at this point.

      So, all normal filthy political efforts against Trump fail. The only remaining options are to accept his reelection, to cheat again with massive mail-in ballots and vote harvesting or to kill Trump. They won’t ever accept a Trump reelection. The people are now clued into to vote cheating and organizations in swing states are setting up watchdog groups in fairly savvy ways. Therefore, Trump will have to be killed. Maybe in a jail cell, maybe an airplane crash. Maybe a crazed loner. No doubt the plot is in the works as we speak.

  6. Eric Newhill says:

    Tulsi Gabbard, Who Col Lang said was a “Goddess” and who he supported for POTUS – and who can hardly be written off as a radical right wing racist hillbilly deplorable, sees the trial as I – and many – do. Here is her statement concerning the trial and verdict.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q6__XrbEy0

    • TTG says:

      Eric Newhill,

      That was a good statement by Tulsi. It was generic enough to apply to any administration including a future Trump administration which has sworn judicial vengeance against its political enemies.

      The RNC could do a lot worse than picking her for their candidate in July. I think she’d be hard to beat.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        TTG,
        She will make a good Trump VP.

        Trump needs to unleash vengeance on his political enemies. They are all scum and enemies of the Constitution and our way of life. They have gone too far. They are beyond forgiveness or business as usual. They must be removed from government.

        • TTG says:

          Eric Newhill,

          Both Trump and Gabbard have announced they are open to the idea. It just might happen.

          “They are all scum and enemies of the Constitution and our way of life. They have gone too far. They are beyond forgiveness or business as usual.”

          That’s the same thing said by many about Trump and his close MAGA henchmen, except it ends with saying they must never be allowed in government again. Doesn’t bode well for a pleasant election season.

          • Eric newhill says:

            Just gonna be war then. Sometimes that’s the only way to settle things when they get to a certain point.

  7. scott s. says:

    The problem is that the business records case is a misdemeanor, and outside the statute of limitation, unless it can be linked to a second crime, which was never presented in the indictment and not really argued until prosecution’s closing argument after which the judge’s instructions to the jury allowed them to pick and choose from any of three possible crimes without having to agree on which of the three was committed.

    I can see how this could lead to a federal appeal on 6th amendment grounds (…and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation;)

  8. Barbara Ann says:

    “That and the underlying crime of doing so to influence an election”.

    Not exactly, the falsifying of business records merely had to be linked to an underlying crime for the felony upgrade. The “influencing the election” trope that is wheeled out every time any news harmful to the current administration breaks is the gift that Russiagate keeps on giving. Trump influences the election every time he draws breath and that is the really intolerable fact for many.

    The “catch and kill” “corrupt bargain” and “conspiracy” to engineer a “subversion of democracy” that the judge referred to in his closing statement is the underlying crime; a system of buying up negative press. As Eric Newhill suggests, a system of paying to promote positive stories and suppress negative ones is just the reality of a modern political campaign – where the candidate is anything other than a saint. Is doing so and claiming the costs as business expenses new? I doubt it very much and arguments that Trump’s actions are differnt seem to me arguments over degree. Catching and killing a DNC staffer to cover up a story is out of the ordinary, but that’s another topic. I hope Trump’s lawyers cite Citizens United in the appeal and suggest that hush money in support of a political campaign is just an expression of his protected 1A rights. It makes about as much sense as the logic in that case.

    What’s next? I’d suggest Trump as St. Sebastian on the front page of Esquire would suit the mood.

    • TTG says:

      Barbara Ann,

      Trump’s DOJ established the actions of Pecker, Cohen and others as violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by obtaining the guilty plea from Cohen. Trump’s DOJ specifically listed the $130,000 payment to Daniels as a violation of that act. That was all public knowledge long before the Trump trial. I don’t think anybody tried to use 1A rights to defend those acts. From that precedent, it was pretty easy to push the “catch and kill” “corrupt bargain” and “conspiracy” to engineer a “subversion of democracy” as the underlying crime.

      • al says:

        Recall…Trump was listed as an “unindicted coconspirator” with Cohen. He was not prosecuted due to his status as President.

        The Biden DOJ could have prosecuted Trump after he left office on the Stormy payoff. They chose not to do so.

        • Fred says:

          al,

          Does being “unindicted” make one guilty or are they still innocent until proven guilty?

          • Al says:

            Fred, point being that DOJ under Trump had the same evidence that convicted Cohen to bring Trump to trial after Trump left WH. DOJ appointed by Biden chose not to do so.

            This largely negates Trump’s claim that Biden has set the league beagles out to get him.

          • Fred says:

            Al,

            You mean the Federal Government did not pursue alleged violations of NY State law.

  9. James says:

    Will Biden and Hunter be put on trial once Trump is elected? Will this set a precedent?

    • al says:

      Hunter goes on trail set for July!!!

      Biden DOJ chose not to prosecute Trump, as he was previously cited as a conspirator with Cohen. They gave Trump a pass.

      • Fred says:

        Hunter is not a candidate for office.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          but maybe under pressure Hunter will flip on his scumbag father. Rotten little dope addict losers like Hunter are not known for loyalty or honor or strength. Lots of animosity in that family. From the daughter “accidently” leaving behind the diary with entries about “the big guy” showering with her well into inappropriate ages for that, to Hunter’s numerous and deep pathologies and “accidently” forgetting to pick up his laptop; chock full of incriminating evidence. It’s a very sick and corrupt family. They’re all just itching to “tell all” and save themselves.

          The FBI and DOJ will try to protect them because those are equally sick and pathological agencies, but maybe the revenge train has been set in motion among the people and, therefore, in congress and will run right over the deep state.

          • James says:

            Eric Newhill,

            I’m not sure it will “run over” the deep state. The more that elected leaders prosecute the former elected leaders, the more power accrues to the deep state.

  10. Mark Logan says:

    It’s definitely very small potatoes as far as crimes go. I thought he should’ve copped a plea on this one. Not worth the risk, time, nor the expense of a trial. Most understood and accepted Clinton’s inability to keep it in his pants. Not the hill to die on.

    • John Minehan says:

      Likely the right call, if offered the right deal.

    • Barbara Ann says:

      Mark Logan

      It was an excellent hill to die on – precisely because the crimes were such small potatoes. They keep lining up the hills and Trump’s power grows with his martyrdom on each successive one. If the rule of law becomes “the rule of the circus” (NYT) the winner will surely be the greatest showman.

      • Mark Logan says:

        Barbara,

        Perhaps it will play out that way, but I recommend caution on use of victim cards. They tend to wear thin with over-use.

    • Fred says:

      Mark,

      What deal was offered, beyond “don’t run for president in 2024”?

    • elkern says:

      Mark Logan – Nah, Trump can’t cop a plea on any of these court cases, because a big part of his shtick is never backing down, even (or especially!) when he’s obviously wrong or lying. That’s what convinces his Mob that he’s “strong”. It also creates a framework for cohesion within that Mob (“there is ample evidence for the therapeutic utility of a shared mythical framework”), and it’s a fantastic weapon for Pwning the Libs, who will waste countless hours trying to prove them/him wrong.

    • F&L says:

      Mark Logan,

      What did they leave to posterity? The dual revelations that Slick Willy’s was long and crooked, while Trump’s is a smallish mushroom.

      • Mark Logan says:

        F&L,

        Trump’s is still being written and the victors will write it though. We should know in November who will be honored for their service of saving the nation on Mt Rushmore, Don Trump or Stormy Daniels.

  11. John Minehan says:

    Well, the former head of the FEC refused to testify when he found out he could not testify as to ultimate conclusions of law, which no expert is allowed to in NYS.

    That is a weak argument. So it the idea it is a political case. Everything is to the degree, most prosecutors go after unpopular people perceived to have done something wrong. That is called “prosecutorial discretion” and it drives the criminal justice system.

    Trump got out lhttps://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2024/05/31/how-trump-and-his-lawyers-blew-the-hush-money-trial-00161018awyered at trial and will get out lawyered on appeal, more likely than not. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2024/05/31/how-trump-and-his-lawyers-blew-the-hush-money-trial-00161018

    • Keith Harbaugh says:

      Regarding the Bradley Smith situation, AP has a detailed look at that
      https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-brad-smith-testify-trump-trial-907236056289

      But Smith was permitted to testify.
      The defense decided not to call him after Merchan reaffirmed a pretrial ruling that limited what he could have spoken about.

      Merchan said that, if called, Smith could give general background about the FEC — for example, it’s purpose and the laws it enforces — and provide definitions for terms such as “campaign contribution.”
      He rejected the Trump team’s renewed efforts to have Smith define three terms in federal election law on the basis that doing so would breach rules preventing expert witnesses from interpreting the law.
      Nor could Smith opine on whether the former president’s alleged actions violate those laws.

      The judge said if Smith did testify, the prosecution would then be permitted to call an expert of its own,
      resulting in a “battle of the experts”
      that “would only serve to confuse and not assist the jury.”

      [Smith] added that he had intended to testify about complicated background knowledge necessary to understanding the case, rather than about the law.

      “Judge Merchan has so restricted my testimony that defense has decided not to call me,” Smith wrote.

      Now let’s see what Andrew McCarthy has to say about this situation:

      As Bragg played peekaboo regarding his enforcement of federal campaign law,
      Merchan ensured that actual federal law would not intrude.
      He denied Trump’s defense the right to call former FEC commissioner Bradley Smith,
      who would have explained that
      (a) the NDAs were not campaign expenditures, and
      (b) even if the Stormy NDA on which the business-records charges were based had been a campaign expenditure,
      there would have been no reporting obligation until after the election.
      That is to say, Bragg’s fairy tale that Trump stole the 2016 election by skirting FECA reporting requirements was utter fiction, in addition to being legal nonsense.

      It is not enough to say Merchan kept Smith off the witness stand
      while allowing Cohen and Pecker to opine on federal campaign law, a matter regarding which they — like Bragg and Merchan — are out of their depth. …

      https://www.nationalreview.com/2024/06/in-memory-of-justice/

      BTW, that McCarthy essay really dissects the Bragg case, and Judge Merchan’s actions.

      • John Minehan says:

        I’ve heard McCarthy interviewed, and he basically admits Trump’s best arguments relate to the jury instruction.

        I’m not sure what that gets him except a new trial he will still probably lose.

        Part of his problem is that he is he did it.

        “It” is not sleeping with Ms. Clifford (Adultery is a crime, but rarely enforced and not charged here) and Non Disclosure Agreements (“NDAs”) are not illegal.

        However. trying to pass off the payment under the rubric of legal fees is illegal both as trying to hide a contribution under Federal law and a violation of State law by falsifying business records.

        It’s complex But it is also brilliant and the defendant screwed up. I think it stands appeal.

        I suspect there are probably reasons why they are going after so hard. Most of the people who post on this forum can guess the reason.

    • Fred says:

      John,

      You mean the judge told him what he could testify to and what he was forbidden to testify too. That’s not a refusal to testify.

  12. mcohen says:

    Just a standover show.Trump will do the deal and sign on the line.Will not be running loose like the first time.
    Trump and Haley.What a team

    • Fred says:

      mcohen,

      Haley is the neocon/deep state dream that guarantees an assassination of Trump. If he isn’t killed before the election.

    • John Minehan says:

      My guess would be Haley/De Santis or Scott/De Santis.

      I don’t think the party of law and order can run a felon.

      I also think Trump has too much legal Tsouris to be an effective candidate.

      I suspect some big donors and GOP Sachems are explaining the “facts of life” to Trump right now.

      • Fred says:

        John,

        So the Uniparty wing of the GOP will get a good loser to do like Romney and let the most popular president in American history -FJB- win in another massive vote getting election. Because 2 NY misdemeanors add to a federal election felony that NY has no jurisdiction to prosecute. Good luck with that.

        • TTG says:

          Fred,

          The underlying election crime is New York Election Law Section 17-152. It applies to any election including a federal election.

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            So he conspired in 2016 for the 2020 election? Funny that Mueller and all the rest couldn’t figure out what the guy who ran for the office of DA promising to get Trump figured out 8 years later. As the little girl said at the end of Miracle on 34th Street: “I believe. I believe. I believe.”

          • TTG says:

            Fred,

            This trial had nothing to do with the 2020 election. Nor did it have anything to do with Russian inference in that election.

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            Of course, it was not political at all. It was, however, about that election four years earlier when he committed the unpardonable sin of defeating Hilary.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            bwa haha ha ha….not bwa ha ha…political… bwa ho ho ooh ha ha.

            Oh lord have mercy you’re a corker, TTG

            Please tell me that you’re just having fun with us and that none of this reflects any US spook school training you’ve been through (Because I’m starting to worry about US spook trade craft)

      • Barbara Ann says:

        John Minehan

        GOP big donors explaining the “facts of life” to Trump? I suspect it is the other way around.

        https://www.zerohedge.com/political/trump-campaign-raises-staggering-200-million-thursday-conviction

        • Fred says:

          Barbara Ann,

          All those people aiding a “convicted felon” who is out to subvert American Democracy! I sure hope the DAs go after them all. Unlike SBF and all the people who laundered money though that bank of his.

  13. Condottiere says:

    What’s next? Ha! Outlaw Donald Trump is going to break his foot off in someone’s ass.

    • Condottiere says:

      “Sometimes I just want to lose everything for a period of time just to see who is loyal and who’s not loyal.”

      “I would have wiped… the floor… with people who weren’t loyal.”

      “I love getting even with people”

      youtube.com/watch?v=olTViFGGAsk

    • Condottiere says:

      I’ll say it again. He’s gonna break his foot off in someone’s ass.

      https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/rcna147179

      If you mess with the bull, you get the horns.

      • TTG says:

        Condottiere,

        Do you think a President bent on personal vengeance is a good idea for this country?

        • Condottiere says:

          Maybe a President hell bent on personal vengeance is needed to punish certain members of the FBI for targeting old school Catholics (like myself and the late Col Lang), pro life supporters, concerned parents at school board meetings, law abiding gun owners, and people sporting Gadsden flags or Gonzales Flags, while giving marxists, communists, BLM and ANTIFA free passes when they riot and burn down federal buildings. If anyone in that agency speaks up they get their clearance revoked, suspended without pay, and denied extra employment, forcing them to resign under bad terms.
          He’s our paladin. Our retribution.

          • TTG says:

            Condottiere,

            What did the FBI do to old school Catholics? Did they do anything to anybody for flying the Gadsden or Gonzales flags or even the Confederate battle flag? The BLM riots and demonstrations were met with over 14,000 arrests, mostly state offenses. There were also several hundred arrests for federal offenses, such as looting, use of explosives, looting, vandalism, and the like. They didn’t get free passes.

          • LeaNder says:

            old school Catholics (like myself and the late Col Lang)
            Which means?

            As someone who struggled with PL, I don’t think that describes him.

            Here is a statement by him, slightly more than a year before he died:
            “Comment: I thought that Francis would be a grand pope, a liberal who nevertheless kept within the boundaries of church teaching. Instead, he has proven to be a man whose very identity as a Catholic Christian is open to question.

            He has left open to speculation his own faith in the reality of transubstantiation in the Eucharist, told a fallen priest that he too is homosexual, thereby condoning that sort of orientation in the clergy and done nothing of substance in regard to married diocesan clergy and a greater role for women in the Church.”

            He is said to yearn for his Argentine homeland.

            Vaya con Dios, Frank. pl”

            Traditionalist? A liberal pope? Done nothing of substance regarding married diocesan clergy and women in the church? I misread?

            But yes, “don’t ask, don’t tell”, he definitively was against a recognized presence of gay men and their ‘spouses’ in the military.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        lol, Trump’s opponents weaponized the IC against him and now they are crying that he’ll return the favor and become an “authoritarian”. The gnashing of teeth and rending of clothing will intensify between now and November.

        “..former intelligence officers worry that the spy agencies could suffer irreparable damage”

        Good. The domestic regime change apparatus needs to be dismantled. Brennan and his co-conspirators belong in jail – for treason, not falsifying business records.

        • TTG says:

          Barbara Ann,

          The IC was “weaponized” against Russian attempts to influence the election. It was Trump’s bad luck that he hired people with numerous contacts with Russian operatives that got caught up in the IC investigations. It was political operatives that used that information against Trump politically. It pays to be careful about who one associates with.

        • Fred says:

          TTG,

          Putin used Trump! Lol the tds is strong even years later. If only our intelligence agencies would publish the names of all the Russian operatives Americans would know who to avoid contact with. You know, so they are not guilty by association alone.

  14. Lars says:

    It is astonishing that those who have called for “law and order” for years, all of a sudden thinks it should not apply to their guy. Their main problem is that their media has lied to them for a very long time about this case and they were thus totally unprepared for the reality. As I have said before, to accept that reality, they would have to admit that they have been wrong and that will seldom happen, especially with all those conspiracy folks. But it is sinking in. Polling after the verdict indicate that a lot of Americans are aware and even approve of the verdict and that is bound to spread wider and wider and those screaming the most will assist in that effort.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Lars,
      You’re being deliberately obtuse. The law that the jury decided was broken is obscure and arcane and victimless – and only a felony by the most strained twists of logic. I 100% guarantee you that everyone posting here has broken – and is breaking – at least one obscure and arcane and victimless law b/c there are so many laws – and so many are so vague – that they can be used to prosecute anyone. If you think that Biden and everyone else in DC isn’t breaking the same law that the jury says Trump did, you are delusional. But they are also breaking much more serious laws. They pigs at the trough won’t go after their fellow porkers as long as the trough is full enough to jeep them all fat.

      • TTG says:

        Eric Newhill,

        The law is not so obscure or arcane. This article from a year ago includes a 24 page Scribd file listing NYS indictments using this statute.

        “Prosecution of falsifying business records in the first degree is commonplace and has been used by New York district attorneys’ offices to hold to account a breadth of criminal behavior from the more petty and simple to the more serious and highly organized. We reach this conclusion after surveying the past decade and a half of criminal cases across all the New York district attorneys’ offices.”

        https://www.justsecurity.org/85605/survey-of-past-new-york-felony-prosecutions-for-falsifying-business-records/

        But wait, there’s more.

        https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2023/04/06/new-york-state-has-issued-nearly-9800-felony-charges-of-falsifying-business-records-since-2015/?slreturn=20240502142630

        • Eric Newhill says:

          TTG,

          A couple examples from your link…..
          The People of the State of New York v. Josue Aguilar Dubon, AKA Saady Dubon, AKA Alejandro Ortiz (October 2022) — Bronx business owner indicted for failing to report over $1 million in income, avoiding paying $60,000 in taxes.

          The People of the State of New York v. Scott Kirtland (February 2022) — Insurance broker indicted for allegedly creating/filing fraudulent certificates of liability insurance to further scheme to defraud.

          That’s real crime with victims, which is quite different than Trump filing a payment to hush up a blackmailing whore, under some generic category that NY interpreted as incorrect.

          So now the standard is that any business or individual that doesn’t cross every ‘T’ and dot every ‘i’ on any form or filing will be investigated and found guilty of a felony?

          The Gov of NY says to not worry because they won’t apply those legal standards to anyone else. By her own admission the prosecution was mere special persecution. So there you have it. Hochul knows perfectly well that they can’t apply the law that way to everyone b/c of the problem of sending the entire state to prison.

          But hey, here’s an idea, let’s apply the same law to government at the same level of minutia and unforgiving scrutiny.

          Oh that’s right, never mind, the government accusers make themselves immune from their own crazy laws.

  15. mcohen says:

    Ode to DT

    Who will it be
    To repeat history
    Will it be the joker
    With a red hot poker
    From across the fjord
    With a viking sword
    Who will it be
    Cried the liar
    With thunder and fire
    Whatever you desire
    That is your lot
    With a single shot
    Who will it be
    Shows you mercy
    Hits the kill switch
    Pulls you from the ditch
    When you’re down
    Run out of town

  16. Christian J Chuba says:

    The best outcome would be for a higher court to declare the NY law unconstitutional, preferably by non-Trump appointed judges.

    I hate Trump and will not vote for him but this is an example of ‘show me the man and I’ll give you the crime’. The gist of the NY county law is this, that Trump undermined a federal election by hiding the fact that he had a tryst. That hiding this fact was illegally tampering with an election. This elevated a misdemeanor, false records violation into a felony.

    Here is a description by Elie Honig, legal analyst on CNN and no friend of Trump https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/elie-honigs-description-of-trumps-prosecution-should-appall-liberals/

    We all knew Trump was a rogue and didn’t care if he had a tryst prior to 2016. The Steele Dossier was far more serious because it disguised, opposition research as an Intel document.

    • Barbara Ann says:

      Christian J Chuba

      “I hate Trump and will not vote for him..”

      Given that democracy is the business of choosing the lesser of two (we)evils, I have to assume you hate Biden and the Democrats’ program less.

      There is a reason the Framers did not bar felons from running for high office and Trump’s convictions and the immediate reaction to it ($200M in donations in 3 days including many new donors) demonstrate that reason. Democracy can so easily degenerate into lawfare with the party in power using political prosecutions to ban the opposition. We see this at work in many countries.

      If Trump is nominated and elected again the Constitution provides a political remedy if Congress deem him unsuitable (impeachment). Some folks don’t like it, but the wisdom of the Framers is again on display.

      • Christian J Chuba says:

        I’m voting for Jill Stein in the Green Party. I cannot stand either Trump or Biden. I hate both of them equally.

      • Lars says:

        Democracy should be about choosing what is best for your country. In addition, the Framers never considered that a felon would ever be a choice. Regarding “lawfare”, Trump has already made it clear how he would apply it, should he be chosen. Impeachment was enacted to deal with misdeeds while in office and as we have seen, all it takes is cowardly Senators to make it null and void. What we are currently dealing with is the legal system actually working as intended, which seems to be a hard pill to swallow for some.

        • Fred says:

          Lars,

          They considered removal from office by a trial in the Senate. If you read any of the other material around the beginning of the Federal Republic you would know there were worse scandals than business record errors a DA connects as predicate to a felony state charge. That would include Jackson shooting someone in a duel and Arron Burr’s actions as VP.

          ““lawfare”, Trump has already made it clear how he would apply it, should he be chosen. ”

          HOW DARE HE do unto others exactly the same perfectly acceptable practice of the left. Cowardly Senators. Not to including leaving the Open Borders executive in office.

          “What we are currently dealing with is the legal system actually working as intended”
          Yep. Just as intended. Which means we can elect whomever we want in November.

        • Barbara Ann says:

          Lars

          In Federalist 68 Hamilton said:

          They [the Convention] have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment

          The presidency was deemed important enough to justify a purpose made election so that the People (not their representatives) could exercise their choice directly. Earlier in the same paper he says

          It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided

          That word “sense” is vital. The People’s good sense is to be trusted with this vote. Now the People are presumably sensible enough to see through a political conviction – or otherwise vote for the other guy/gal. If Trump’s actions really do amount to a “subversion of democracy” surely enough Americans will be sensible enough to see through all his bluster come November.

          2016 brought out of the woodwork all of the folks who actually think little of the sense (& thus sovereignty) of the People. Hillary’s infamous “Deplorables” speech was nothing more than a modern restatement of Brecht’s satirical poem Die Lösung. The problem is, the foundational premise of democracy is that the sense of the people, expressed via their vote, defines what is best for the country – at least in the long run. I’d be interested to know how many folk here would actually be in favor of an amendment to bar felons from the presidency. Personally I think this would invite disaster.

  17. Christian J Chuba says:

    Regarding the ’34 counts’, I’d bet my last dollar that there was a conviction on one count with 33 minor variations.

    I served on a grand jury and I watched how indictments balloon. The most common charges we heard were drug related with ‘intent to sell’. But then the DA would tack on, ‘intent to sell within 1,000 ft of a public park’, ‘intent to sell 2,000 ft of a school’, … Oh and multiply the indictments for every different type of drug they had on their possession and thresholds for amount of drugs.

    (btw figure of speech, I need my last $ :-))

  18. Lars says:

    The victims were all the American voters who were denied pertinent information before the election and no matter the diminishing excuses that are offered. This was probably the least important case filed, with much more serious ones in the pipeline. If Trump was smart – and we know that he is not- he should make deals to minimize the damage, even if he has to get out of politics and he can keep cheating at golf, which will not matter for most people.

    • Fred says:

      Lars,

      “all the American voters who were denied pertinent information before the election ”

      Not Russia collusion, but whore, or porn star if you prefer, payment collusion. In NY to get on the NY ballot. Of course “all the American voters” would be states outside NY where that state has zero legal power.

      “If Trump was smart … he should make deals…”
      Like payoff the extortionist so he can not harm his family’s reputation? That’s exactly what he did do.

      • TTG says:

        Fred,

        American voters were denied info about Russian interference in the 2016 election by McConnell when he refused to sign a bipartisan public statement calling out that interference. We didn’t hear about until after the election. We didn’t learn the full extent of that interference until well after the election. The SSCI report wasn’t released until 2020.

        • Fred says:

          TTG,

          How shocking. What did Mueller do with that investigation, indict the Senate majority leader?

          • TTG says:

            Fred,

            Why indict McConnell? What he did was no crime. Mueller did indict a bunch of Russians and his report detailed Russian interference. His report and the SSCI report detailed a lot of contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian government operatives, but no active collusion/conspiracy on Trump’s part.

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            “McConnell when he refused to sign a bipartisan public statement calling out that interference.”

            oh, that’s not a crime? Why did you bring it up, other than distraction.

            “..no active collusion/conspiracy on Trump’s part.”

            No sh**. We got rope-a-doped by the lady who paid a foreign agent named Steele to interfer in our elections. But the non-whore who got paid in an NDA, now, almost a decade later, completely unrelated to the ongoing election, was actually a payment in conspiracy in 2016. Isn’t this how we overthrow foreign governments?

          • TTG says:

            Fred,

            You brought up the idea of indicting the Senate Majority Leader, an absurd idea. His decision not to call out the Russian interference was a political decision, not a criminal one. That political decision did withhold information from the electorate just as Trump’s decision to pay off the porn star he raw dogged did. But that is not a crime or even an underlying crime to raise his falsifying of business records to a felony. The only thing I can see those 34 business records having in common is that they appear to violate a New York State campaign finance law. Hence, Trump is now a convicted felon.

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            We just read reports of trial we couldn’t watch about alleged misdemeanors creating a link to a felony in NY (a state Trump had zero chance of winning) conducted years after leaving office, thus being past the statute of limitation for said document infractions, and definitely not about the 2024 election. Not absurd at all, Justice. Like what “we” fight for in Ukraine. Which is as irrelevant as Daniel’s testimony, but not Cohen’s integrity.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        No laptops, no “Big Guy” either…….because “Russian disinformation”. Yanked from amor social media outlets. Sounds like election interference to me. No prosecutions.

  19. James Vanasek says:

    TTG,

    For someone who isn’t a lawyer, you’ve done a great job of summarizing the legal case and John Minehan has also added some good clarifying comments.

    In fact, it’s amusing to see so many people definitively opine on the trial both here and in the media who have no legal background and are merely applying their respective political views (right or left) onto the topic.

    As you correctly stated, the state law here is pretty clear and normally what happens with fairly minor crimes like this is the defendant cuts a deal with the DA and everyone moves on which is what should have occurred here and is likely what Trump’s lawyers were advising him to do since he was facing a strong case against him. Unfortunately for Trump, that didn’t happen and the case went to trial and we don’t know if it was due the DA not offering a deal, the terms of a deal being too onerous for Trump or as Elkhern has pointed out, Trump simply being incapable of admitting that he’s wrong about anything.

    Anyway, once the prosecution laid the groundwork in establishing the falsification of business records through days of tedious testimony introducing various documents, Trump was in big trouble and his only options were to discredit Cohen or try to turn the proceedings into a huge circus like what happened with the OJ trial. Unfortunately for him, Judge Merchan is no Lance Ito… he didn’t take the bait and kept the proceedings focused on the main legal issue at hand.

    With the ability to create a sideshow removed, Trump’s lawyers had no real counter to the documentary evidence aside from attacking Cohen which is why they only called one witness (who was a complete disaster) and not Trump himself in his defense.

    Given that, it’s no real surprise the jury came up with the verdict they did and in spite of all Trump’s bluster, it’s highly unlikely for it to be overturned on appeal.

    As far as sentencing goes, even though he’s guilty of 34 felony counts, a normal first-time non-violent offender would likely not get hit with jail time and instead pay a substantial fine, and/or serve community service time in addition to being put on probation. It will be interesting to see, however, if Trump’s bad behavior in repeatedly insulting the judge/DA/witnesses, etc. and lack of remorse causes Judge Merchan to use his sentencing discretion and impose some jail time on him.

    • Fred says:

      James,

      How was Stormy Daniels “tedious testimony” relevant to those documents?

      • James Vanasek says:

        Fred,

        Daniels needed to testify that she had sex with Trump in order to provide the reason for the $130,000 payment. Judge Merchan was going to keep a tight lid on the salacious details, but for some unknown reasons, Trump’s attorneys never objected to a lot of her testimony. In fact, during the defense’s motion to dismiss, the judge specifically stated that he was shocked they didn’t when they easily could have – one of the clear errors Trump’s lawyers made in my opinion. Don’t know if the tawdry details had any effect on the jurors’ verdict but it couldn’t have helped Trump.

        • TTG says:

          James Vanasek,

          Her having sex with Trump was immaterial to the prosecution. Her affirming that she received payments coinciding with the amounts and times of trumps payments was material to the prosecution.

    • Keith Harbaugh says:

      Mr. Vanasek, do you have any thoughts on this specific Andrew McCarthy column?
      https://www.nationalreview.com/2024/06/in-memory-of-justice/

      Or on what Jonathan Turley has written about the trial at his website?
      https://jonathanturley.org/

      I ask that because I have always considered both those authors to be legal experts, but their takes on the trial seem nearly opposite to yours.
      Or am I wrong in that last sentence?

      • James Vanasek says:

        Keith,

        One of Col. Lang’s mantras was to separate a source from the information provided so I did read the McCarthy article with an open mind even though he has been a big Trump supporter, called for Hilary Cliton’s impeachment when she was Secretary of State and felt Obama was a radical socialist who didn’t write his auto-biography.

        It’s interested that McCarthy undermines himself in his first main paragraph where he states:

        “Yes, technically speaking, nondisclosure agreements with porn stars are not campaign expenditures the non-reporting of which is a cognizable federal felony”

        As TTG pointed out above, Cohen’s guilty plea to making an illegal campaign contribution was the crime attached to the falsifying business records charges.

        McCarthy then states that Trump’s defense strategy was daft and self-defeating which is a view that many people agree with, including Judge Merchan who wondered why Trump’s lawyer didn’t object more during the prosecution’s case.

        The next couple of paragraphs are just a bunch of personal political statements before stating:

        “Bragg indicted based on a business-records statute that, as applied in this case, is unconstitutionally vague under New York’s constitution.”

        Uh, no it isn’t as charging people with falsifying business records in addition to other crimes is a pretty common practice in New York, in fact this has occurred 29 times since 2022 according to the NY Times citing district attorney records.

        After some misdirection about Bragg not being able to prosecute Federal law (very true and not germane) McCarthy raises a statute of limitations question which I do find intriguing and probably worthy of research which I assume the judge and his clerks performed, and might be the one possible avenue of appeal for Trump if his defense lawyers raised this question in their pre-trial motions.

        Next there are a few more paragraphs about this being a political persecution with some irrelevant hypotheticals until McCarthy comes to his next legal point which is:

        “It is not enough to say Merchan kept Smith [the former FEC chair] off the witness stand while allowing Cohen and Pecker to opine on federal campaign law, a matter regarding which they — like Bragg and Merchan — are out of their depth.”

        Again, simply not true. As John Minehan (who is suspect must also be a lawyer) correctly point out above, Smith could testify but under New York he is not allowed to give ultimate legal conclusions which is true of any expert testifying in a NY court.

        The rest of the article is more political argument from Mr. McCarthy instead of legal analysis aside from one point he makes about the jury instructions being incorrect (which Mr. Minehan also flagged). I don’t know enough about that very technical aspect to opine one way or the other if they were overly prejudicial against Trump enough for an appellate court to order a new trial in this case.

        • English Outsider says:

          The costs are astronomical. A penalty in itself and one it seems there’s no escape from. It was fear of costs plus fear of having his family drawn in, I believe, that led General Flynn to plead guilty when he wasn’t.

          Costs don’t seem to bother Trump but, as in England, a justice system that operates that way can scarcely be termed such for the ordinary citizen, Nor should the threat to go for others in the family be part of the Prosecutor’s armoury.

          However carefully the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed, no matter how correctly and properly the case is heard, there is in fact no Rule of Law in such circumstances. Not when the prosecution alone can be the penalty and that penalty imposed at whim.

          As for Donald Trump’s case, and on the strictly legal side, it looked like lawfare. Not inventing the crime – but selecting it.

          If I’m breaking the speed limit it’s no defence to say ten thousand others were but they didn’t get prosecuted. But if I happened to be a political figure I’d wonder why just me.

  20. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Concerning some broader issues,
    Michael Shellenberger takes an in-depth look at the campaign against Trump, and asserts the involvement of some in the IC therein.
    https://x.com/shellenberger/status/1797367208332726407

  21. Lars says:

    I think Trump should get 60 days in jail and 5 years of community service. There are plenty of aggravating circumstances and a lack of remorse.

    • F&L says:

      Stay tuned.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      I think the evidence taken from Epstein should used to charge a lot of VIPs with statutory rape – and who knows what else.

      Oh wait that will never happen. The FBI is protecting those VIPs. Maybe some of them even have elections that we can’t interfere with b/c too harmful to the republic. Even though Rule of Law! mandates that Trump be guilty of a felony for how he characterized a payment to a whore who expanded into the extortion racket.

  22. optimax says:

    Do you vote for the convicted felon or the senile old man? I’d rather the felon because I don’t consider his crime that terrible and Biden is a disaster for this country. We haven’t been this close to a nuclear war since the Cuban missile crisis.

    • TonyL says:

      There is a pretty good chance that Trump will be found guilty of hoarding (i.e. stealing) classified documents. We discussed this before with Col Lang. It’s very difficult to prosecute POTUS for normal Secret or Top Secret type of documents, because POTUS can declassify at will, not even need to go through procedure. That declassification procedure can be done after the fact.

      However, nuclear-related documents cannot be declassified by POTUS without going through a procedure. And some nuclear-related documents were found in Trump’s possession after he was no longer POTUS.

      I hope it was just his ego (thinking he is above the law), but not his intention to trade the info for personal gain.

      • TTG says:

        TonyL,

        If Trump returned the documents when first asked, I seriously doubt there would have been any prosecution. Maybe it was just Trump’s ego that wouldn’t allow that to happen. At some level he probably believed he was still the rightful President.

        A President can declassify documents while he is President. Burt on 20 January 2020, Trump lost that ability and Biden gained the ability to reclassify those documents. Don’t know if that happened. It would be petty and vindictive, but very legal and very likely proper.

        • optimax says:

          I don’t think there is a procedure for the President to declassify documents, he can just say he did when he was POTUS. He should have turned them over and it was foolish not to. Biden as VP had no right to take the documents in the first place but Hur found him to be sympathetic enough to jury because he’s too far gone mentally to be convicted by a jury.If he’s to far gone to stand trial, he shouldn’t be President. There’s no evidence Trump tried to trade secrets for personal gain and, after all, he doesn’t need the money.
          I think the choice of candidates is lousy. I may vote for Alfred E. Neuman again. But I’d rather have Trump as prez than Biden, even though he kept the neocons as advisers and didn’t follow through with many of his promises.

          • TonyL says:

            optimax,

            As I mentioned above, there IS a procedure that the President must follow to declassify nuclear-related documents.

          • TTG says:

            TonyL,

            There isn’t a procedure for a sitting President to declassify other documents, but there are procedures for an administration or agency to follow through with that presidential declassification, at least remove the classified cover sheets and cross out the page classifications. Apparently that wasn’t done with the Trump documents. From the ABA site:

            “In all cases, however, a formal procedure is required so governmental agencies know with certainty what has been declassified and decisions memorialized. A federal appeals court in a 2020 Freedom of Information Act case, New York Times v. CIA, underscored that point: “Declassification cannot occur unless designated officials follow specified procedures,” the court said.”

          • optimax says:

            TTG,

            There no precedent for a president declassifying nuclear documents on his own by thinking about it. In fact, there’s no precedent for Trump as the Big Guy.
            All I know is The Deep Blue State has had it in for Trump since he declared he was going run. He’s the most investigated man the world has known.

          • TTG says:

            optimax,

            Trump’s definitely up there. Both Clintons have been investigated relentlessly. Bush the lesser, Nixon and even Reagan were investigated.

        • TonyL says:

          TTG,

          “If Trump returned the documents when first asked, I seriously doubt there would have been any prosecution.”

          Agree. Nobody would want to press charge for something that could be an oversight. Especially Trump had no moving plan after he lost the election, even after Jan 6th, according to some press reports. But Trump refusing to return documents has made it imperative for the DOJ to open a case so they can get the documents back.

        • TonyL says:

          TTG,

          “There isn’t a procedure for a sitting President to declassify other documents”

          Nuclear-related documents are of a different category altogether.

          • Fred says:

            TonyL,

            Which law passed by congress and signed by which president requires the president to follow some “process” to declassify documents? Does it give similar authority to senators and vice presidents?

          • optimax says:

            Here is another article specifically about Trumps power as president to declassify nuclear secrets. Nuclear secrets are covered under various restrictions, still it is unclear what type of nuclear secrets he had at Mar Lardo (sic) and if he had the power to declassify. It’s up in the air.

            https://www.lawfaremedia.org/article/can-trump-just-declare-nuclear-secrets-unclassified

            I’m done researching this. It comes down to what the judge allows, whose lawyers are better and who persuades the jury.

          • TTG says:

            optimax,

            Another factor in all this is a President’s power to classify anything, maybe even by thinking about it. A trial could get pretty absurd pretty quickly if a claim is made that Biden reclassified anything Trump declassified in their respective minds.

          • TonyL says:

            TTG,

            “A trial could get pretty absurd pretty quickly if a claim is made that Biden reclassified anything Trump declassified in their respective minds.”

            That’s a good one : )

    • Barbara Ann says:

      optimax

      The Orange Devil or the Deep Blue State.

  23. optimax says:

    That is a good one Barbara Ann.

    TTG
    This article from Just Security says the president does not have to follow the formal procedure to declassify others must follow.

    The only question then is: must the president follow any specific declassification procedures? The answer is a resounding no for two reasons. First, Executive Order 13526 on its face contains no such declassification procedures. The Order sets forth (1) who may declassify information and (2) what standards they should apply, but beyond that, there is no additional process required. While both individual agencies and the Information and Security Oversight Office have developed additional rules about how declassification should be carried out, none of these procedures apply to the president. Second, given the president’s constitutional authority over both classified information and the administration of presidential executive orders, even if Executive Order 13526 did establish constraints, they are at most self-constraints that the president has the power to ignore.

    Trump may have undercut his defense as JS contiues:

    Ironically, one of the best example of a formal declassification order from a president over the last two decades comes from Trump, who issued a memo declassifying materials from the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation the day before he left office – Jan. 19, 2021. This order may end up undercutting Trump’s claims that he was declassifying documents in his head at the same time, given the formalities that he followed by issuing the memo.

    https://www.justsecurity.org/86777/dispelling-myths-how-classification-and-declassification-actually-work/

    The requirements for presidential procedure are murky at best.

  24. Fred says:

    Looks like the Russian interference in our 2020 election was the FBI and the intelligence agencies claiming Hunter’s laptop was Russian misinformation while now claiming in Hunter’s trial it is authentic. Sure appreciate everyone spreading the falsehood for years.

  25. optimax says:

    The legislature needs to pass a law that provides a process for POTUS to follow for declassifying classified documents to clarify what today can be accomplished by magic.

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