Times of trouble: The March of Farce
The 34 charges against former President Donald J. Trump (PDJT) for violating New York’s Business Records Act are farcical and without legal merit; however, the juridical and political implications of the charges (actually, the same charge repeated 34 times) could be enormous.
As everyone must know by now, the Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg, (an eponymous name if there ever was one) who convinced a grand jury to indict Donald J. Trump, "bragged" when he ran for election that he would "Get DonaldTrump."
Harvard Law Professor Emeritus, Allan Dershowitz, and George Washington University Law Professor, Jonathan Turley, have both opined on the ruin the Manhattan DA has rained on our judicial system. Dershowitz, a liberal Democrat who has voted against Donald J. Trump twice and will do so again, says the charges against Donald J. Trump are politically motivated and without legal merit.
Professor Turley, a Democrat, goes on to say that even a conviction cannot prevent Donald J. Trump from continuing to be a candidate for President of the USA, cannot prevent PDJT’s possible election, cannot prevent him from being inaugurated, and cannot prevent him from, if he chooses to do so, from pardoning himself.
Professor Turley, rests his statements on the U.S. Constitution, that says a President must be 35 years of age, must be born in the USA, and must have lived in the USA for 14 years. Period. As for the "self-pardon," that has never been tested; however, the presidential pardon power is unrestricted. Ergo: Professor Turley is probably correct.
When PDJT was being arraigned, PDJT (but not the DA) was admonished by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan to, in effect, "Watch his mouth." Gagging a defendant who is known for being incapable of being silent could be a way of setting up a Contempt of Court trap for PDJT.
Moreover, gagging someone seeking elective office sets up a First Amendment battle for Judge Merchan. A battle Judge Merchan is likely to lose. If not in the initial trial, then, for sure, on appeal.
Inevitably, some hard-core PDJT supporters (over which PDJT has no control) will do something to draw the ire of Judge Merchan who could find PDJT in "contempt" of his gag order. The usual monetary fine for Contempt of Court would not mean much to the billionaire PFJT, leaving Judge Merchan with the alternative of putting PDJT in jail, incommunicado. Mission accomplished.
Given Gov. Ron. DeSantis’ pledge to prohibit PDJT from being taken from Florida against his will, PDJT might choose to remain in Florida and dare DA Bragg’s marshals to come after him in Florida. That would create a constitutional crisis of enormous magnitude. But then, isn’t that the whole point of this legal farce?
To add to this farce, just as PDJT was arraigned in NYC, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Stormy Daniels (the sine quo non, Latin for: without whom or which this event could not have occurred), to pay PDJT an additional $121,000 in attorney’s fees.
As Karl Marx famously said, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
©2023. William Hamilton.