Everyone is Out to Get Poor Defenseless Donald

Everyone is Out to Get Poor Defenseless Donald

© David Burton 2023

Poor Donald Trump

     To listen to Donald Trump respond to the indictments that were handed down against him, the entire world is out to get him. “It’s all a witch hunt!” he repeatedly screamed. The former president contended his actions were not illegal and that the several investigations were all politically motivated. In a statement released in mid-August 2023, Trump's campaign called his fourth indictment "un-American and wrong!". Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani released a statement echoing Trump's campaign statement that the allegations in the Georgia indictment were all false. "The real criminals here are the people who have brought this case forward both directly and indirectly," he said.[1]

     "The [former president] doth protest too much, methinks" is an appropriate modification of a line from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It is spoken by Queen Gertrude in response to the insincere overacting of a character in the play within a play created by Prince Hamlet to prove his uncle's guilt in the murder of his father, the King of Denmark. The phrase is used in everyday modern speech to indicate doubt of someone's sincerity, especially regarding the truth of a strong denial.[2]

     Donald Trump has been indicted four different times! Donald Trump stands accused of more than four different crimes! – 1. the New York Hush-money Case, 2. the Election Interference Case, 3. the Classified Documents Case, and 4. violating the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Donald Trump was charged by three differentand independent prosecutors! – 1. District Attorney Alvin Bragg of Manhattan 2, Special Counsel Jack Smith, and 3. Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis. Donald Trump was indicted by four different grand juries of totally different citizens. Donald Trump was indicted in four different jurisdictions! – 1. New York, 2. Florida, 3. Washington D.C. and 4. Georgia.

     Can everyone except Donald Trump be wrong? Is Donald Trump innocent all the charges brought against him to date? Is everyone out to get the former President? Has Donald Trump been the victim of a witch hunt?

     Poor defenseless innocent (?) Donald Trump. In mid-August 2023, for the fourth time in five months, the former president was indicted on 41 criminal charges.
     Trump and 18 other people were charged in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia. The defendants allegedly solicited state leaders throughout the country, harassed and misled a Georgia election worker and pushed phony claims that the election was stolen, all in an effort for Trump to remain in power despite his election loss.
     According to the indictment, the alleged scheme involved prominent individuals such as Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and attorney John Eastman.
     Here are some of the major allegations in the 41-count indictment.
     *** Members of the conspiracy made several false statements to the Georgia state legislature, falsely claiming there was election fraud and that they could appoint their own electors.
     *** The defendants allegedly created false Electoral College documents and recruited individuals to convene and cast false Electoral College votes at the Georgia State Capitol, in Fulton County, on December 14, 2020. "The false documents were intended to disrupt and delay the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021." The indictment contends the defendants allegedly tried to conduct similar acts in key battleground states: Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
     *** The indictment detailed alleged efforts to harass Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman to convince her to report election fraud claims in testimony. Rudy Giuliani and others made false claims to the Georgia House of Representatives that Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss, who was also an election worker, sabotaged voting machines. Some of the defendants allegedly tried to influence Freeman's testimony and intimidated her. Trump associate Trevian Kutti allegedly traveled from Chicago to Georgia to speak to Freema. Kutti claimed she was there to help Freeman because she was in danger and lied to her about her intentions.
     *** Former senior Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark, who is one of the defendants named in the indictment, allegedly made false statements in writing and in person to the Acting Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, urging the officials to let him convey the false information to Georgia State Officials. Clark wanted to be able to say that the Department of Justice "identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the State of Georgia." Clark requested authorization, both in writing and in person, to send this incorrect information to Gov. Brian Kemp, Ralston and President Pro Tempore of the Georgia Senate, Butch Mille.
     *** The indictment alleges that members of the group "stole data, including ballot images, voting equipment software, and personal voter information.” Trump attorney and co-defendant Sidney Powell allegedly "entered into a written engagement" with a forensic data firm known as SullivanStricker LLC that they allege joined in an "unlawful breach of election equipment in Coffee County, Georgia.” "The stolen data was then distributed to other members of the enterprise, including members in other states."[1]

     Trump’s legal woes rapidly spread to a growing number of his friends and associates. In August 2023, eighteen people were charged in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia.[1]

     Even before Trump’s current legal troubles began, friends and associates of Donald Trump were being accused of and even convicted of malfeasance. Being a friend of or an associate of Donald Trump has had dubious benefits.
     There’s an old saying that goes something like this: You can judge a man by the company he keeps. Prior to 2021, At least 11 people who played a role in Trump’s presidential campaigns or his administration were charged with crimes, with Tom Barrack, who chaired Trump’s inaugural committee and was a longtime friend, accused of illegal foreign lobbying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
     Below is a list of everyone in Trump’s orbit from 2016 through 2021 who has run afoul of the law. (They’re listed in alphabetical order by last name.) Since 2021, the list has grown considerably longer.
     1. Steve Bannon: Trump’s political Svengali was charged with fraud in August 2020 for a fundraising scam tied to raising dollars to build Trump’s much bally-hooed border wall. The allegation, which Bannon has denied, was that he and others involved in the We Build The Wall group used money raised to pay for lavish personal expenses.
     2. Tom Barrack: Barrack was charged on seven counts in 2021. The allegations, according to the indictment, centered on the idea that Barrack used his closeness to Trump to “advance the interests of and provide intelligence to the UAE while simultaneously failing to notify the Attorney General that their actions were taken at the direction of senior UAE officials.” Following Trump’s 2016 victory, Barrack asked UAE officials to provide him with a “wish list” they hoped for from the administration over the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency. “The defendant is charged with acting under the direction or control of the most senior leaders of the U.A.E. over a course of years,” wrote the prosecutors of Barrack.
     3. Elliott Broidy: Broidy, a top fundraiser for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, pleaded guilty in October 2020 to conducting a secret lobbying campaign in exchange for millions of dollars. CNN’s Kara Scannell wrote at the time of Broidy’s guilty plea: “Broidy was charged earlier this month with conspiracy for failing to register and disclose his role in a lobbying effort aimed at stopping a criminal investigation into massive fraud at a Malaysian investment fund and advocating for the removal of a Chinese billionaire living in the US.”
     4. Michael Cohen: The one-time fixer for Trump, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for a series of crimes, most notably secret hush-money payments made during the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign to two women alleging affairs with Trump. The sentencing judge said that Cohen had pleaded guilty to “a veritable smorgasbord” of crimes. Cohen turned informant on Trump and, in sworn testimony in front of Congress in 2019, Cohen called Trump “a racist,” “a conman” and “a cheat” – and insisted that the president was fully aware of the hush-money payments.
     5. Michael Flynn: Flynn spent a brief stint as Trump’s national security adviser before being forced to resign after he failed to disclose the depth and breadth of his contacts with Russian officials during the transition. Later that year, Flynn admitted that he had lied to the FBI about his contact with Russia and had also done work for Turkey as an unauthorized lobbyist. In early 2020, Flynn and his legal team sought to have his conviction overturned. That effort was rendered moot when Trump pardoned him in November 2020.
     6. Rick Gates: Gates, deputy to the campaign chairman of Trump’s 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting Paul Manafort in concealing $75 million in foreign bank accounts. Gates turned informant for the government as part of the broader probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and was sentenced to 45 days in jail.
     7. Paul Manafort: Trump’s campaign manager for part of the 2016 presidential campaign, Manafort pleaded guilty in 2018 to one count of conspiracy against the US and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice due to attempts to tamper with witnesses – and agreed to cooperate with the ongoing Russia probe. Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison in 2019. Trump pardoned Manafort in the final weeks of his presidency and Manafort wound up serving just under two years in prison.
     8. George Nader: An informal foreign policy adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign, Nader cooperated heavily with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In early 2020, he pleaded guilty to two counts of sex crimes involving minors.
     9. George Papadopoulos: Papadopoulos, a relatively junior adviser to Trump’s campaign, was sentenced to 12 days in prison for lying to investigators about his contacts with individuals tied to Russia. Papadopoulos was defiant about his innocence; “The truth will all be out,” he tweeted the night before reporting to prison. “Not even a prison sentence can stop that momentum.” Trump pardoned Papadopoulos in December 2020.
     10. Roger Stone: Stone spent years advising Trump although he was only formally affiliated with the 2016 campaign very briefly. He was convicted in November 2019 for lying to Congress and threatening a witness regarding his efforts for Trump’s campaign. According to the judge, Stone’s actions “led to an inaccurate, incorrect and incomplete report” from the House on Russia, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign. Stone, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before, was pardoned by Trump in December 2020.
     11. Allen Weisselberg: In July 2021, the longtime chief financial officer for the Trump Organization was charged with tax crimes tied to perks he was given in lieu of salary. “All told, the indictment alleged, Weisselberg evaded taxes on $1.76 million in income over a period beginning in 2005 and concealed for years that he was a resident of New York City, thereby avoiding paying city income taxes,” wrote CNN”s Erica Orden, Kara Scannell and Sonia Moghe. Weisselberg pleaded not guilty. The Trump Organization, which was also indicted and pleaded not guilty, called Weisselberg a “pawn in a scorched-earth attempt to harm the former president.”[3]

     As of August 2023, the ex-president was indicted in four separate prosecutions. So far, he faces a total of 91 criminal counts overall. Donald Trump made history in March of 2023 as the first former president to be indicted. In August of that year, he made history again as the first former president to be charged in four separate criminal cases.
     Trump's four cases are looming over him as he runs in the 2024 presidential election. His criminal trials — not to mention civil trials — and court appearances are set to largely run concurrently with the presidential race.
     But while all the cases will keep him busy they don't all pose the same level of threat. For some charges, he's unlikely to see jail time if he's convicted. Others could be much more dangerous for him if they get to a jury trial. Here are all four cases, ranked from least to most threatening.
     New York hush-money case - District Attorney Alvin Bragg of Manhattan was the first to bring criminal charges against Trump. In March, 2023, he alleged Trump broke laws related to falsifying business records 34 different times. The alleged crimes occurred before he was elected president, as part of a scheme with Michael Cohen to pay porn star Stormy Daniels and keep her quiet ahead of the 2016 election about an affair she says she had with him. But even if Trump is convicted of all counts, it's unlikely that he will see any time behind bars for falsifying documents in connection to his $130,000 hush-money payment to Daniels.
     Jack Smith's election interference case - Early in August 2023, special counsel Jack Smith brought charges against Trump alleging he broke criminal laws by conspiring to obstruct Congress and rob Americans of their rightful votes through his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
     The case was assigned to US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who has been unforgiving in handing out sentences to convicted participants of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot in Washington DC. While the charges are serious, Smith and Trump are in legally untested waters. It remains to be seen whether Chutkan or an appeals court might consider some of Trump's activity described in the indictment as protected by the First Amendment. If Trump were convicted in this case, he would be eligible for a presidential pardon since it's a federal case.
     Classified documents case - Jack Smith's office indicted Trump on 37 counts in June 2023 connected to his possession of government documents at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office. They include violations of the Espionage Act, conspiracy to obstruct justice, lying to law enforcement, and breaking three laws related to withholding and concealing government records. The upside for the former president is that the judge presiding over this case, US District Judge Aileen Cannon, is a Trump nominee and has ruled in his favor in the past — often to the bafflement of legal experts. And like the DOJ's January 6 case, the classified documents case is also a federal one, meaning Trump is eligible for a presidential pardon if he's convicted following a trial.
     But there's a significant downside. For one, this is a much more straightforward case for Smith's office than the January 6 case because there's more precedent for the alleged mishandling of classified information. Prosecutors also went to great lengths to highlight Trump's efforts to keep government records even after the National Archives and the Justice Department had asked for them back, as well as his and his associates' attempts to obstruct the department's investigation into the former president's handling of national defense information. They also highlighted in the indictment one conversation in which Trump appeared to acknowledge knowing that he was not supposed to share confidential or classified information with those who didn't have the appropriate security clearance. Prosecutors also tacked on three new charges against Trump in a superseding indictment, accusing him of working with his associates to erase security camera footage to prevent investigators from viewing it, and willfully retaining national defense information.
     Georgia's RICO case - The most significant charge against the former president — under the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Because the case is so complicated and includes 19 defendants, it's very likely that it will be the last case among the four to go to trial. And if Trump is convicted, a judge can take his entire judicial history into account during sentencing. The governor can't pardon in Georgia. It's the Board of Pardons and Paroles that has to grant a pardon Here's the kicker: President Trump could only apply for a pardon if he were to be convicted and only after he had served five years in a Georgia penitentiary.[4]

     On 24 August 2023, the sad story of Donald Trump entered a new chapter. On that day, Trump was arrested at Georgia’s Fulton County Jail on charges he tried to steal the 2020 election, the fourth criminal case he faced while campaigning for president the next year.
     The processing – with authorities collecting fingerprints and a photograph – contrasts to his three other cases, in New York, Florida and Washington, D.C., where he was processed at a courthouse. His photograph wasn’t required at previous bookings because he is well known. Trump spent about 20 minutes at the jail.
     All defendants are technically arrested in such cases, even if they voluntarily surrender, in a process known as booking. The former president was also arrested earlier on federal charges that he tried to steal the 2020 election. Trump pleaded not guilty to the sweeping allegations.
     Trump’s indictment is a formal document that contains allegations that he committed a crime. It includes the charges laid out against him and is filed before the case can move forward in court. The indictment means a grand jury decided that there’s “more likely than not” enough evidence – based on testimony – to move forward with charging him. At least twelve jurors had to be in agreement that Trump and the others named in the indictment allegedly committed a crime. After the indictment, Trump will have ro go to trial where a jury will reach a unanimous decision on whether or not to pursue conviction.[5]

     In spite of all the bad press poor defenseless Donald receives, let’s not forget that our legal system requires the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Despite all the hot takes, Googling arm-chair experts, and genuinely troubled onlookers, the presumption of innocence for Trump is a crucial guarantee in our criminal justice system.
     Let’s face it - we won’t know for months or years whether Trump actually broke Georgia’s criminal code when he did what he did. Not having a final answer immediately may not be satisfying, but it’s how the system works.
     Nothing compares to the scope of the potential Georgia case against Trump, nor the gravity of possibly sending a former U.S. president to state prison. And unlike federal charges, Georgia law won’t let a president or governor simply issue a pardon to Trump later. He could be looking at real jail time if he is convicted. And he is unlikely to be the only person implicated.
     More than 20 others were named as targets of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation. As Willis’ case has advanced, Trump has claimed at every turn that he won in Georgia in 2020, which he did not. He has attacked Willis in public and recently cut a campaign commercial with her image and lewd rumors, too. He hasn’t stopped, changed, or apologized.
     Many already think that what Trump did in Georgia was despicable. They think it was wrong and fundamentally un-American. But also presuming that Trump is innocent of a crime until he is proven guilty is as American as it gets.[6]

     Poor defenseless Donald, everone is out to get him!

  1. What's in the Georgia Trump indictment, ABC news, 15 August 2023.
  2. The lady doth protest too much, methinks, Wikipedia, Accessed 15 August 2023.
  3. 11 Trump associates have now been charged with crimes. 11!, Chris Cillizza, www.cnn.com, 21 July 2021.
  4. Trump's 4 criminal cases, ranked in order of how screwed he is, Jacob Shamsian and Sonam Sheth, news.yahoo.com,
    15 August 2023.
  5. A highly anticipated booking photo. A notorious jail. The Donald Trump arrest recapped, Josh Meyer, Phillip M. Bailey, Bart Jansen and Abraham Kenmore, USA TODAY, 25 August 2023.
  6. Donald Trump is innocent until proven guilty, Patricia Murphy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11 August 2023.

  2 November 2023 {Article 599; Politics_86}    
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