• Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

Trump’s ‘hush money’ case puts on trial the morals of New York

Trump's 'hush money' case puts on trial the morals of New York

The Manhattan court docket says it’s the “People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump.”

Legally, yes, but in a larger truth, no. As the case nears the finish line, it increasingly feels as if New York itself is on trial.

Only a top-quality case, beyond reproach and political taint, should have been used to bring the first-ever indictment of a former president. Instead, the city and state put on a show trial long on theatrics–porn star testifies about sex! — and short on evidence that any crime was actually committed.

And so the script has flipped, with the trial itself an assault on the notion that justice is blind. No matter what the jury says about Trump, the prosecutors, the judge, the state court system and the political class have been revealed as thoroughly corrupt.

Former Donald Trump lawyer and loyalist Michael Cohen walks out of a Manhattan courthouse after testifying before a grand jury on March 13, 2023 in New York City. Getty Images

This is the third time New York Democrats distorted the legal system to serve their partisan aim of destroying Trump. One case involved a change in a statute of limitations law that ultimately led to a defamation ruling against him and a ridiculous fine of $92 million.

Another murky case, brought by the overtly-partisan state attorney general, concocted a civil fraud charged aimed at bankrupting him. An amateurish state judge who enjoyed the spotlight far too much nodded yes and declared a fine of $355 million.

These are the rotten fruits of a one-party blue state. The only justice so far is a rough one, with New York Dems inadvertently contributing to Trump’s growing popularity and helping him build his lead over President Biden.

Kat’s stumble in Bronx

Kathy Hochul said that black kids in the Bronx don’t know the word “computer.” AP

They also managed to prove the former president’s claim that his supporters are the ultimate target.

Thanks to Gov. Hochul for opening the kimono on that point. Her description of those New Yorkers who attended Trump’s Thursday Bronx rally as “clowns” seals her reputation as a party hack.

Somebody should remind her she’s the governor of 20 million people, not just the 6 million who are registered Democrats.

Imagine if Trump had called thousands of mostly-black and Latino supporters at a Biden rally clowns. The New York Times would have stopped the presses to declare him a racist.

Hochul, who recently had to apologize after saying black children in The Bronx grow up without knowing the word “computer,” denounced Trump and his supporters even as he vowed to work with her and Mayor Adams to make New York safer and better.

She’s never criticized Biden for an open-border policy that has saddled New York with an unmitigated disaster, financially and socially, or played hardball with the far-left radicals running the Legislature.

Donald Trump had thousands of supporters show up to his rally in the Bronx. Getty Images

But she was quick to blast Trump for daring to offer his hand in bipartisanship.

Then again, Hochul’s no rookie at smearing opponents. Recall her demand in 2022 that Trump and her GOP opponent, Lee Zeldin, “jump on a bus and head down to Florida where you belong . . . you are not New Yorkers.”

She also said Republicans “don’t represent our values.”

Hmm, which values would that be? Corrupting the courts for political purposes?

Or making New York a leader in out-migration of residents as families flee high crime, high taxes and poor services?

Unfortunately, Hochul has lots of company on the loony left. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who coddles criminals and ignores their victims, is paying his party dues with the Trump case.

Bragg can’t make case

The claim that Trump disguised “hush money” payments to Stormy Daniels to conceal an underlying crime was always a stretch, but now seems like a flight of fancy because Bragg never identified an underlying crime.

As even CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria put it, “ I doubt the New York indictment would have been brought against a defendant whose name was not Donald Trump.”

What a damning indictment of New York!

Bragg once shared the same opinion of the flawed case, dropping the long-running probe soon after taking office in 2022. That put him in good company, with the Federal Election Commission, New York federal prosecutors and his predecessor all previously passing on the case.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks during a news conference at his office in New York City, U.S., February 22, 2024. REUTERS

But Bragg, in his first elected office, soon caved in to pressure from the Trump haters, including those in the Biden White House and the office of Attorney General Merrick Garland. They saw the criminal case, along with three others Dems brought that are pending, as insurance policies against a second Trump election.

Even then, the lack of direct evidence that Trump committed any crime, let alone 34 felonies, should have been fatal. And any prosecutor who brings a case where Michael Cohen is the prime witness ought to be disbarred.

Cohen is a convicted serial liar and appears willing to say anything if it will help settle his score with Trump.

 How ironic that his testimony helped his former boss in key ways.

The weaknesses should have been fatal to the prosecution, and would have been except for a judge who has tilted so far in Bragg’s direction it’s a miracle he doesn’t fall out of his chair.

Justice Juan Merchan clearly suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome and his campaign donations to Biden and Democrats, although small, should have led to his recusal.

Ditto for the fact that his daughter works as a richly-paid consultant for Dems. But instead of stepping aside to give the case a patina of credibility, Merchan slapped a gag order on Trump that, among other things, forbade him from mentioning the judge’s family.

Not surprisingly, his rulings about evidence and testimony mostly favored prosecutors, magnifying his conflicts of interest.

Donald Trump paid Stormy Daniels $150,000 to not speak about their affair. Stormy Daniels

Shallow end of jury pool

A Manhattan jury pool was always likely to tilt against Trump, which was surely a factor in Bragg’s decision to bring the case. Because a majority of the jurors said they read The New York Times, which is in its eighth year of its jihad against him, a conviction wouldn’t be surprising.

Although appeals would not likely be resolved before the election, the case would become an integrity test for the appellate courts. Nearly all of the jurists are Democrats who owe their robes to the state party machine.

For Trump, the partisan math means a hung jury is his best hope. Reports that Biden intends to speak from the White House about the verdict brings into sharp focus the president’s fantasy that a guilty verdict would reverse his fading re-election chances.

Perhaps, but it’s not clear how much a conviction would hurt Trump politically. Although polls say some voters would be less likely to back him if he’s guilty of a felony, the specifics will matter.

Moreover, Trump’s support has never depended on his adherence to conventional conduct.

His quip that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters has proven true enough to get him this far.

And with polls showing that a big majority of voters see Biden as a failing president, a Trump conviction in a sham case will not determine the November outcome.

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