It’s been my experience that a whole lot of people – even if they despise Donald Trump with every fiber in their being – are irrevocably convinced that he’ll get away with all of his crimes. There’s never any factual or logical basis offered to support this position, beyond the fact that he’s “always gotten away with it.”
Nothing works that way, of course, and the fact that Trump is now in the process of being criminally indicted by grand juries in New York and Georgia should make clear that he’s quite likely to rot in prison. Yet people remain skeptical, and so be it. But then Matt Gaetz happened.
For whatever reason, people seem to have an easier time believing that Matt Gaetz could end up in prison. That’s probably because he’s being investigated for the kind of crime – sex with an underage girl – that no one magically skates on. If he’s guilty, then he’s pretty much on a straight line to a prison cell, and everyone knows why. Even any Republicans on the jury aren’t going to let him walk free, if the evidence ends up saying he’s a child rapist.
The kicker is that Donald Trump’s financial crimes in New York actually have one of the highest rates of conviction of any kind of crime. Things like mortgage fraud and tax fraud are such surefire convictions, they’re the kinds of charges that prosecutors tack on to other cases, in order to make sure they can take someone down. It’s what Trump’s pal Paul Manafort went to prison for.
Yet financial fraud just sort of instinctively feels like the kind of crime that wealthy people tend to get away with. But when rich people get away with financial crimes, it’s usually in the dark, when no one is looking, or no one wants to know. Trump’s financial crimes are now highly public. When there’s public demand for a rich or famous person to be prosecuted for financial crimes, it happens. And when such charges are brought, they lead to a conviction.
Perhaps when Matt Gaetz is inevitably indicted, it’ll allow the public to trust that Donald Trump is next. The legal system rarely doles out justice swiftly, and often doles it out asymmetrically. But Trump’s time is coming, and it’s coming soon. He just hired an expensive high profile criminal defense attorney to represent him in New York for a reason. He knows he’ll be put on trial there, and he’s very much afraid he’s going to lose.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report