Deliberations — A hanging in the balance

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

May 27th 2024

I suspect that I’ll be writing a second piece later this week, should the Trump trial for falsification of business records jury return before next weekend. That would probably good news for anyone who believes Trump is guilty of the charges and should be convicted of some, if not all of them. A quick jury return would mean the jury found the case for the state to be a slam dunk and at that point all Judge Juan Marchan has to do is decide how many years Trump should get sentenced to. Given the behavior of Trump and his slimy cohorts during the trial, I doubt judicial leniency is in the cards. If convicted on all counts, it’s unlikely Trump would live long enough to serve out his sentence.

While Trump and his minions may disagree, that’s the best possible outcome for the nation and society in general. Yes, I know some of his fans have been making terrorist threats, but if we can’t stand up to those types of coward and bullies, then perhaps America isn’t worth the trouble.

Second best result—and least likely, in my opinion—is outright acquittal on all charges. I know it’s hard to imagine that the state didn’t have a strong enough case to convince the jurors on some of the charges, but then my perspective – and yours – is that of an outsider who depends on what is in the media. The jurors are remanded to a very specific set of criteria (which Merchan will be reiterating, spelling that out for them tomorrow) and they may decide that whatever they may think of Trump’s behavior and ethics, the actual charges weren’t backed by evidence.

The most likely outcome is that Trump may be found guilty on some or most of the charges. This would indicate a jury that takes its duties and responsibilities seriously, and is taking the time to carefully weigh each charge and determine if it rose to the level of actual legal culpability. So if it’s June the third and we’re still waiting on the jury, don’t panic. It may just mean they are all doing their job in good faith, and even if on some of the charges there’s a hung jury, that may mean one or more of the jurors legitimately thought the state didn’t rise above the required level of reasonable doubt.

If we get to the tenth of June and there’s still no verdict, then the nightmare scenario comes into play. At that point it’s possible that the jury reports back to Merchan that it is unable to get a unanimous verdict on all charges. If it further comes to light that the vote on nearly all the charges was 10 or 11 to convict, then it would be clear that Trump and his crowd managed to get a ringer empaneled who planned to vote to acquit on all charges no matter what.

That would be a devastating blow to the nation’s self-image of being a nation of laws. It might even do more damage than Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon. Trump’s known crimes, and his flagrant abuse of the pardon power are far worse than we saw in 1974, but in that half century, standards have slipped, especially amongst Republicans. They enjoy the privilege of lowered expectations. They get away with this shit in large measure because they’re no better than they ought to have been.

But while Trump may dismay but never disappoint, the jury is a different story. We expect better from them, and if Trump has managed to corrupt them, then it’s another victory for the immoral and unethical trash.

Exactly how the nation would react to that outcome would be pretty much determinative.

I would love to say that this wouldn’t happen, but I can’t. Not honestly. Trump’s corruption is very far-reaching, and while the large majority of his followers are disaffected and ineffectual clowns, there are some very powerful interests devoted to the rise of a fascist state who see Trump as their perfect agent.

Americans are notoriously slow to react to that sort of threat. Usually they don’t really react until it morphs into an actual attack, whether it be Fort Sumter, Pearl Harbor or 9/11. And in this instance, the attacker may well have possession of the very instruments Americans would need to respond; the government, the military, and the directed will of the population.

A verdict widely seen as honestly arrived at will do much to defray such a eventuality.

Eric Trump (“Butthead”) whined that nobody has sacrificed more for this country than his family. The usual self-pitying, self-aggrandizing crap you expect from the Trumps. But he picked Memorial Day weekend to do that.

Anyone who is inclined to prayers or thinking good thoughts, give those who died a “thank you.” And honor them by fighting tyranny.

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