The latest news out of Georgia is that Fani Willis, in response to Donald Trump’s cafeteria lawyers asking for a trial date of many years in the future, would very much like to try Trump and all 18 of his co-defendants all at once and as soon as possible. Ms. Willis has October 23rd of this year in mind. That’s the date Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell were assigned when they each asked for speedy trials.
I think a nice compromise between October 23rd and infinity is, let’s see, add them together, divide by two, carry the six, uh, yes — October 23rd of this year sounds like a pretty fine compromise to me. And it may literally come to that. But things could change and splinter. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.
But what’s charming about the idea of trying all 19 together is that we’ve seen something very much like it before. Between 20 November 1945 and 1 October 1946, the International Military Tribunal tried 24 of the most important political and military leaders of Nazi Germany in the German city of Nuremberg.
What came to be known to the world as the Nuremberg Trial was conducted in that eponymous Bavarian city by France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States. The men on trial were representatives of Nazi Germany. Their crimes, resulting in World War II, included plotting and carrying out invasions of other sovereign nations and atrocities committed against the citizens of those nations.
The Nuremberg Trials concluded its most famous part resulting in 12 sentences of death (including one in absentia), various prison sentences of varying length and a handful of acquittals. The principal villain behind Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, escaped prosecution through suicide. That’s one point where our modern trial of Trump and his minions differ. We get to try our Hitler.
But you can expect many similarities between the trials of Trump and his henchmen and the trial of Hitler’s minions. Expect many villains to emerge and at least one so-called hero. After all, Nuremberg had its Albert Speer. Don’t be surprised if a similar “hero” emerges from the trials of the co-defendants of Donald Trump as well.
But the biggest similarity will undoubtedly be the defence. What eventually became known as “The Nuremberg Defence” was embodied in the phrase “I was just following orders.” We have already been given a glimpse of this defence from Mark Meadows. Meadows insists he was just following Trump’s orders. Don’t be surprised if most of the Trump co-defendants try it also.
The Nuremberg Defence was exposed as a fraud by the simple fact that the defendants who used it were shown to have been energetic and imaginative exponents of Hitler’s insane ideas all by themselves. They weren’t reluctant drudges who carried out despicable orders because they feared for their lives. They were active and sadistic practitioners of evil all on their own.
I think a similar prosecution will be more than effective in exposing Trump’s co-defendants as well. However much they may try to blame Donald Trump for their own actions, they will be shown to be every bit as despicably criminal as he. After all, today they would be singing a very different tune, a tune of the triumph of evil, had they won. Thank goodness they did not. 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.