With Presidency at Stake, Trump’s Trial Needs To Be Televised 

The real jury in this case is the public, which will decide if they want Trump to be president again. The public needs to be able to scrutinize the trial, gavel to gavel.

Andrew Kelly/pool via AP
President Trump in court on April 4, 2023 at New York. Andrew Kelly/pool via AP

On Tuesday, the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, presented his bag-of-tricks indictment charging President Trump with 34 counts of false entries in business records. 

Mr. Bragg managed to slice and dice two hush money payments into what sounds like a big deal — 34 felonies. Don’t be fooled. As a former Attorney General, Bill Barr, no fan of Mr. Trump, said of Mr. Bragg’s case, it’s “an abomination” held together “by chicken wire and paper clips and rubber bands.” 

The judge in the case, Juan Merchan, set the next court date for December 8, 2023, with a trial likely some time in 2024. That’s smack in the middle of the campaign for the presidency, and will stick Mr. Trump in a courtroom with daily press coverage as “the defendant.”

After Mr. Trump’s arraignment, Mr. Bragg released a statement saying he charged the former president because “everyone stands equal before the law.” That’s misleading. No one else would have been prosecuted for the business entries referred to in the indictment. 

Nor would Mr. Trump, had he quietly exited the White House in 2020 and retired. The prosecution intends to cripple Mr. Trump’s candidacy. 

That is why it is important that the entire trial be televised. The New York County jury pool may be unavoidably biased against Mr. Trump, but if the jury convicts, the case will be appealed where the law and facts will more likely prevail.

The real jury in this case is the public, which will decide if they want Mr. Trump to be president again. The public needs to be able to scrutinize the trial, gavel to gavel. 

Mr. Bragg’s legal gymnastics need to be on full display, as he attempts to leap over the statute of limitations, turn a state misdemeanor allegedly committed seven years ago into a federal felony, and transform two business transactions into 34 separate crimes.

Here’s the hitch: In New York State, TV cameras are barred from the courtroom. 

A bill to allow televised coverage awaits action in the New York State legislature. Lawmakers need to pass it now. The public deserves transparency. All states except New York and Louisiana already permit TV cameras in court.

A televised trial will allow people to see for themselves whether the judge treats both sides fairly and if the prosecution’s key witnesses — a convicted perjurer, Michael Cohen, and porn star Stephanie Gregory Clifford, known as “Stormy Daniels” — crumble under cross-examination.

How believable are these people?

The spotlight should also be trained on Judge Merchan, currently assigned to the case in the New York State Supreme Court. On Friday, Mr. Trump lashed out on Truth Social, saying Judge Merchan “HATES ME” and “treated my companies … VICIOUSLY.”

Judge Merchan presided over the jury trial last year of Mr. Trump’s real estate company for tax offenses, resulting in a conviction and fines, as well as the sentencing of the Trump Organization chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, to five months in prison. He’s also presiding over a case against a former Trump adviser, Steve Bannon. 

Is Judge Merchan’s ever-expanding anti-Trump portfolio mere coincidence? It’s reported that his daughter Loren Merchan worked for Vice President Harris’ campaign in the 2020 election and now runs a business dealing with the Biden political operation. 

The liberal media are giving the judge glowing reviews for his work ethic and rise out of poverty, and are declining to question his impartiality. With a televised trial, viewers can draw their own conclusions. 

In 1965, the Supreme Court ruled that allowing television equipment and reporters into a courtroom was so disruptive that it denied the defendant a fair trial. 

By 1981, technology had so improved that televising a trial could be done without disruption, and the Supreme Court reversed that ruling. 

Mr. Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, cautions that he’s planning motions to dismiss, saying, “there is no crime.” Perhaps he’ll succeed, but New York lawmakers have plenty of time to legalize cameras in court, in case Mr. Trump is taken to trial. 

The stakes are higher than Mr. Trump’s own assets, reputation, or even freedom. Mr. Bragg’s success would unleash political prosecutions by left-wing, Soros-supported prosecutors across this nation. You could be next. As Mr. Trump warned in 2019: “They’re not after me. They’re after you.”


The New York Sun

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