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In Trump trial there was no real crime but America just lost something it can never get back

OpinionIn Trump trial there was no real crime but America just lost something it can never get back

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Donald Trump did not lose on Thursday.  Our once venerated legal system did.  And, by extension, all Americans lost something precious.  Because the failure of justice is a failure of the people. 

The conviction of the former president in a Manhattan courtroom was preordained.  With the inexorable verdict, the ideals of a fair trial and an impartial jury faded into a figment of our Founders’ imaginations. They knew that the worst oppression is done by the color of law.  They feared it and tried to prevent it.  So, they, too, have lost.  

No reversal on appeal can erase the ugly stain. It is indelible. Ethical integrity, equal justice, and the revered rule of law became the fateful casualties of this assault on liberty. There was no real crime to be found.  Prosecutors simply invented one —an undefined conspiracy that was factually impossible and unsupported anywhere in the criminal codes.            

TRUMP GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS IN NEW YORK CRIMINAL TRIAL

The trial itself that stretched for five agonizing weeks seemed a mere formality, a hollow exercise.  A bookkeeping entry magically morphed from an expired misdemeanor to an active felony in the way that a porcupine is transmogrified into a prince.  

At trial, the accused was never informed of his alleged felonious conduct. It was an egregious violation of his Sixth Amendment rights.  Jurors were then given a creative menu of three possibilities and informed that our cherished constitutional principle of unanimity had gone the way of the dodo.  We still don’t know —and may never know— what conspiracy Trump supposedly committed.     

The tragic coda to the Trump trial is that Americans can no longer trust our system of justice. Faith has been squandered. 

District Attorney Alvin Bragg proved the English philosopher and jurist, Jeremy Bentham, correct.  “It is never the law itself that is in the wrong; it is always some wicked interpreter of the law that has corrupted and abused it.”  

But Bragg did not act alone.  His accomplice and co-prosecutor, Judge Juan Merchan, blithely disregarded the established rules of evidence, manipulated standards of admissibility to favor the prosecution, sanctioned prejudicial testimony bereft of probative value, and helped engineer a wrongful conviction by depriving Trump of a full and legitimate defense to which he was entitled. Merchan did all of this without conscience or regret.   

TRUMP SAYS GUILTY VERDICT IS A ‘SCAR’ ON NEW YORK JUSTICE SYSTEM, VOWS TO ‘KEEP FIGHTING’

There was never any plausible evidence that Trump committed crimes. There was no legal basis for the indictment. Facts were contrived or exaggerated.  Statutes were perverted or ignored.  The law enforcers became law-breakers.  Bragg’s scheme to exploit a pathological liar and convicted perjurer as his star witness was a devious maneuver by an unscrupulous prosecutor.  

On cue, Cohen lied to the jury, just as he had lied to everyone else.  It was no surprise coming from a man who told Congress, “I have lied, but I am not a liar.”  That is a twisted syllogism from an insufferable reprobate.  

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The problem with liars is that, for them, truth has no meaning.  They are incapable of distinguishing fantasy from reality.  They lie to themselves about their own lies.  But that did not stop Bragg and his confederates from mining Cohen’s skills as an expert prevaricator in their relentless quest to convict Trump.  

Did they suborn perjury? Absolutely. They knew Cohen would lie. They wanted him to. He did not disappoint.  

Bragg never had authority to bring a case against Trump based on federal campaign finance violations, which appeared to be the centerpiece of his misbegotten case. That’s why he concealed it to the bitter end. A competent or unbiased judge would never have allowed it. Merchan was neither.  

The tragic coda to the Trump trial is that Americans can no longer trust our system of justice.  Faith has been squandered. If it can be weaponized against a former president, it can happen to any of us. We are all at risk.  

When a district attorney, who is a powerful force in government, abuses his position of trust to subvert the legal process, and when a judge acts in concert to dismantle the due process rights of the accused, our system of justice is threatened. Reverence to the rule of law is lost.  

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It was John Adams who said, “Ours is a government of laws, and not of men.”  

Sadly, it is no more.

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