Contrary to the claims by criminal defendant Trump and many others in the MAGA crowd, the Manhattan DA routinely brings charges for felony violations of the books and records statute. The indictment of Trump is nothing unusual. When the crimes in question include campaign finance violations, the same DA routinely wins convictions.
There’s a great deal of clever talk about the DA’s “overreach,” that the charges are “purely political” and that the jury will “see right through it.” That, brothers and sisters, is pure propaganda, an example of political whistling past the graveyard. Criminal defendant Donald John Trump has been slapped with 34 felony counts. Any way you candy coat it this is serious stuff, serious as a heart attack.
To be sure, there’s a giant gap of time between now and potential prison. The trial proper won’t start until at least January of 2024, possibly well into 2024. A conviction — if there is one — will be many months after that. The trial may have to be put on hold or delayed to make room for other criminal charges stemming from Georgia, Washington DC or another jurisdiction of New York State.
The specifics for the 34 count indictment comprise 11 counts for false invoices, 11 for false checks and check stubs and 12 for false general ledger entries. So the DA has 34 instances where phoney documentation was deliberately created with intent to deceive investigators and cover up crimes. That’s 34 times that Donald John Trump, a former president of the United States, deliberately committed criminal fraud and concealment.
Go out in your street and knock on a neighbour’s door at random. The probability is very high that the person who comes to the door hasn’t created false documents to criminally deceive investigators even once. Criminal defendant Trump has done it at least 34 times — and it’s all apparently part of his routine business day.
The narrative that this is a political persecution of an innocent man isn’t merely wrong, it’s entirely backwards. The political move would be NOT to prosecute Trump. That he is being prosecuted is nothing less than a reaffirmation of that which we hoped was true all along: nobody is above the law. Not even Donald Trump. We can be proud of that. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.