The travails of criminal Trump

The travails of criminal Trump Featured

GUILTY on all 34 counts! I had not expected this verdict. From an outsider looking in, I expected a judgment similar to O.J. Simpson's, found innocent on reasonable doubt of killing his wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman. Nevertheless, OJ was found liable for "wrongful death" and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages to Nicole's and Goldman's families. I never could figure out American jurisprudence, declaring one "not guilty" of parricide and murder yet being made to pay for those same killings in a civil case.

In the current trial, I thought that embedded among 12 jurors, a MAGA adherent would succumb to a lame defense injecting "reasonable doubt" against the prosecution's star witness, Cohen, a convicted felon himself — producing a "hung jury." It turned out they were unanimous in finding ex-president Donald Trump a criminal. Apparently, the US justice system works.

But MAGA now avers that the trial was a con job with the 12 tainted jurors all coming from New York "where 96 percent of the electorate vote Democratic, and all suffering from Trump Deranged Syndrome (TDS), thanks to the liberal media" (social media post of a MAGA, Esther Barton). The argument advanced by the MAGA crowd is that "...this was rigged from the very beginning. A biased judge with a case tried in a predominantly Democratic state." Wow, how stupid!

Back in 1995, the public broke down along racial lines where mostly whites were angered by the acquittal while the majority of Black Americans favored OJ's exoneration. In America today, the people are likewise polarized badly. This verdict could affect the November 5 US presidential elections either way.

I watched with fascination this six-week trial, misnomered as simply "US$130,000 hush money" paid to a porn star meant to conceal sexual shenanigans to protect Melania, the wife — a lamely mounted defense strategy. But the American jurors were unanimous in finding Trump guilty of falsifying business records to cover up this extra-marital affair in advance of the 2016 presidential election, which, ironically, he won. Poor Melania, used as an alibi. That is probably the reason why she was never seen inside the New York courtroom supporting a philanderer of a husband.

Now MAGA pooh-poohs this verdict, declaring other politicians have done worse things. Why single out Trump alone? "Stormy Daniels" has an inconsequential impact on the vaunted American concept of democracy and the rule of law. I agree. I would rather that Trump fought first his three other cases now awaiting litigation where America's sense of justice will really be exposed as it has often been smugly portrayed — that American Western Christian values are superior to those of the rest of the world. Now after this buffoon of a felon president had to go down ignominiously on mere transgressions of personal undisciplined animal appetites, the succeeding trials could be anti-climactic. America will be unable to showcase and elevate the conversation and boasts of "their better angels — those traits and admirable aspects of temperament or aspirations toward what is good" (paraphrasing US President Lincoln at his first inaugural).

Trump's other cases

Trump was indicted in August 2023 of a racketeering case (RICO) in Georgia for an alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential elections. Of his original 18 co-defendants, four have already pleaded guilty and reached plea deals with prosecutors. This should have been the first case tried were it not for Trump himself causing delays. Over 60 lawsuits were filed by his allies in an attempt to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election. These lawsuits were quashed and did not change the outcome of the election, which saw Joe Biden elected as the 46th President of the United States.

In South Florida, the Donald is charged with 40 counts from his mishandling of sensitive government records — an obstruction of justice where all his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty. There is a chance that this indictment will be tossed out by the Trump-appointed Judge Cannon who had this postponed indefinitely.

But the indictment that has greater ramifications on America involves Trump's alleged plot to negate the transfer of power in the 2020 presidential elections. The world was a witness — and entertained by the hordes of MAGA supporters who stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, attempting to prevent the session in Congress from counting the Electoral College votes formalizing the victory of president-elect Biden. The attack was unsuccessful in reversing Biden's victory, but Trump's MAGA, some members of the Oath Keepers Militia, and the Proud Boys involved in this criminal act are now imprisoned, and some are awaiting prosecution.

Interestingly, all three cases may not be litigated before the November 5 US presidential elections pending the US Supreme Court ruling on US presidential immunity.

Comparative Philippine scene

And we should really not gloat too much over the Donald's predicament, although we may be forgiven for momentarily engaging in schadenfreude. Trump's travails trump (pun unintended) the equivalent or worse cases in the Philippines. We, too, have felon presidents, but egregiously a sitting senator, a felon found guilty of corruption, direct and indirect bribery and sentenced to eight to 10 to 12 years imprisonment, yet still reports for work at the Senate and sits as an 'honorable member of this august body.'

I must admit to a certain vicarious thrill binge-watching video clips of those late-night comedians, Kimmel, Colbert, Meyers, et al., giving running accounts on Trump's courtroom behavior complete with vulgar-bordering-slapstick, describing his farts and his drooling while napping; and the Keystone cops-like display of canine loyalty by the GOP leadership flying to New York led by the House Speaker all in uniform red ties and dark suits — the Donald's trademark attire.

And I'm a little jealous that a powerful man can be found guilty by his own peers in a trial of only six weeks and 10 hours of deliberations to find him accountable for his misdeeds. In the Philippines, such trials are impossible. We have more serious crimes committed that couldn't reach the trial stage, And if they did, judges, witnesses and litigants would have been long gone — dead or suborned. And the records lost. And sadly, the crimes forgotten, and their progenitors even occupying the seat of power — even becoming president.

Trump winning the presidency

Many of Trump's true believers — and they are countless here in the Philippines — still hold their faith in this felon, advancing the argument that this verdict enhances his image as the tragic figure hounded by the Democrats and the deep state on a never-ending witch-hunt. True enough, the aftermath triggered a fundraising bonanza of $34.8 million in campaign funds.

The next few months leading to the November elections will be America's circus with name-calling, de rigueur among MAGA fanatics, and 'basket of deplorables' arrayed against the TDS and the Bidenistas, champions of a doddering senile ageing president in the absence of well thought out arguments and unheated political conversation. But as in the 2020 US presidential elections, a dangerous predicate is being laid. Trump will win! If he loses, then the election was rigged! Then, the insanity runs full circle.

Or Trump could be America's 47th president!

 

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