On Trump, Alvin Bragg Should Spare Us the Excuse That ‘Nobody’s Above the Law’

We have a two-tiered system of justice.

AP/Seth Wenig, file
The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, at New York, February 7, 2023. AP/Seth Wenig, file

Expect one high-minded bit of rhetoric to be repeated ad nauseam as President Trump’s indictment moves forward: “Nobody is above the law.” It is meant to be self-evident, but if we all agree it’s true, why are so many powerful, connected, and favored people enjoying legal status as untouchables?

“If the reporting leading up to this indictment is borne out,” the Sun wrote in a Thursday editorial regarding Mr. Trump’s indictment, “this could turn out to be a case not of the former president being above the law, but below the law.”

“We have a two-tiered justice system in the good ol’ U.S. of A,” the former independent governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, wrote in a recent Substack post. “There is one set of rules for the executive ruling class and another set of rules for the rest of us.”

The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, whose office has indicted Mr. Trump, has put whole classes of criminals on that higher tier, no longer seeking jail time for felonies including domestic violence, sex crimes, and public corruption.

Gotham has also placed shoplifting on the protected species list. One serial offender, Wilfredo Ocasio — despite convictions for robbery and rape — served no jail time after a staggering 27 arrests for fleecing pharmacies.

During the term of New York County’s previous D.A., Cyrus Vance Jr., the city turned a blind eye to subway fare evasion, costing it half a billion dollars in lost revenue each year. Speaking of jumping turnstiles, consider immigration policy.

So-called sanctuary cities and states declare foreign nationals without any legal right to be there above federal law because they label the system “broken” and don’t want to go through the effort of “fixing” it through the legislative process.

Make a threat against the president and the Secret Service will come calling, but when Madonna Louise Ciccone — who goes by only her first name on stage — said in 2017, “I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House,” the law falls silent.

With so much talk about new gun legislation, surely no one is above those laws, but when the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” David Gregory, brandishes an illegal high-capacity ammunition magazine on air, the Washington, D.C., attorney general, Irvin B. Nathan, gives Mr. Gregory a pass.

President Biden’s son, Hunter, lied on Form 4473 to acquire a handgun, answering “no” to a question on abusing controlled substances. Mr. Biden explained in an interview with Jacob Tapper that his son “wrote about it in his book,” as if this was a Get Out of Jail Free card.

Mr. Biden had even signed the Safer Communities Act, increasing the penalty for that very crime to 15 years in prison, and when the younger Mr. Biden lost the handgun, the Secret Service stepped in to ensure he was safe. He also paid no penalty for leaving a crack pipe and a “white powdery substance” in a rental car — privileges, say, a young Black man would not enjoy.

On the eve of the 2016 election, the director of the FBI, James Comey, declared that “no reasonable prosecutor” would pursue charges against Secretary Clinton for mishandling classified documents on an unsecured server, and Mr. Trump stated that his administration wouldn’t enforce those laws on his vanquished foe.

The argument will be made for holding presidents to a higher standard, but pundits and politicians can do us a favor by ceasing the endless sermonizing that nobody is above the law, since it’s the manifest truth that millions of people are just that.

The New York Sun

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