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The Biggest Loser



The day Donald Trump has been dreading and deliberately avoiding has finally arrived. As I write this, Dangerous Dishonest Donald sits in a New York City courtroom on trial for allegedly making hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels.


Trump’s principal legal strategy has been to avoid facing justice in all four cases brought against him. In most trial situations, delay is caused by one side or the other needing more time to prepare, gather evidence, or strategize their arguments. In this case, however, Trump’s tactics were primarily political and had little to do with legal issues.


The former president has tried to dismiss the case, poison the jury pool, recuse the judge, and change the venue. He has filed motions and appeals, all intending to avoid having a jury render a verdict before the November election. While this is probably the least significant of his high crimes, misdemeanors, and felonies, its primary significance is that it is happening—after a flurry of additional attempts to delay, Trump is finally face-to-face with his accusers and future jurors.


I find the change of venue and recusal motions particularly amusing. While pre-trial publicity can result in a change in venue, and potential judicial bias sometimes results in recusal, Trump seeks those two outcomes as the result of his own outrageous and contemptible statements about the process, the trial judge (Juan Merchan), the judge’s daughter, and the prosecutor, Alvin Bragg. To their credit, neither Bragg nor Merchan engaged in pre-trial banter despite Trump’s despicable behavior.

  

The prosecutors allege that Trump paid the porn actress $130,000, laundered through a lawyer’s office, improperly classified as “legal fees,” to prevent his extra-marital affair from becoming public shortly before the 2016 election. Trump’s simple defense is that the payment was, indeed, for legal fees, a notion countered by Michael Cohen, the lawyer who laundered the funds and went to jail for his efforts. He and Daniels are expected to be the trial’s star witnesses.


The stakes are high. Trump’s behavior might amount to obstruction of justice, conspiracy (with Cohen and others), and campaign finance violations. He faces years in prison if a jury finds him guilty, which brings us to another important aspect of this historic trial: jury selection.


The prosecution will look for impartial jurors who strongly believe in justice and are brave enough to convict if the evidence supports conviction. The defense will seek people who are skeptical or suspicious of the government and government intrusion, are sympathetic to citizens, and are willing to give the former president the benefit of the doubt.


Don’t expect a quick outcome; jury selection is likely to drag on for days, perhaps weeks. The two sides will engage in voir dire, which involves questions intended to weed out any biases, predispositions, or prejudices. Each side also has several peremptory challenges that may be used for any purpose.


The Biggest Loser

One other reason Trump might have sought to delay this, and the other criminal trials, is that he is a serial courtroom loser. He lost all legal challenges to the 2020 election results. He had to settle the Trump University cases. He lost almost $100 Million in defamation litigation to E. Jean Carroll.


And he lost hundreds of millions in the New York City fraud case. He might return to television when he gets out of prison, hopefully following his failures in these criminal cases. He would be the frontrunner to host a revival version of television’s “The Biggest Loser.”


Bello's books

Please check out Mark Bello’s ripped-from-the-headlines legal thrillers, all available online at Amazon and other major online booksellers. He has quite the hero in Attorney Zachary Blake, who fights for justice on all fronts. His books are Betrayal of Faith, Betrayal of Justice, Betrayal in Blue, Betrayal in Black, Betrayal High, Supreme Betrayal, Betrayal at the Border, You Have the Right to Remain Silent, The Final Steps – A Harbor Springs Cozy Legal Mystery, and his latest, The Anti-Semite Next Door. Also, he’s written a wonderful children’s book about bullying, “Happy Jack, Sad Jack,” and he's just announced the pre-order release of "Love Hate Law," a new legal romance novel. For more info, just check markmbello.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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