The Truth and Consequences

Like many anxious Americans, I spent much of this past week flipping between MSNBC and CNN looking for the best coverage of the Trump falsified business records/hush money/election interference trial.  MSNBC provided the best analysis with its stable of experienced former prosecutors and defense lawyers including Lisa Rubin, Neal Katyal, Harry Littman, Joyce Vance and Barbara McQuade.  However, the quality of their coverage depended on a full house of distinguished attorneys and journalists, who not only knew the law, but knew how Donald Trump responds to it.  Andrew Weissman, lead investigator for special counsel Robert Mueller.  New York Times investigative reporter Susanne Craig, who shared a Pulitzer Prize, with two colleagues, for their coverage of Trump’s finances including the fact he paid a total of $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and paid none in 10 of the 15 previous years.  Tristan Snell, a former New York state assistant attorney general, who lead the successful prosecution of Trump University which resulted in a $25 million settlement to the enrollees he defrauded.

The MSNBC coup d’état was snagging Lachlan Cartwright, the assistant editor at the National Enquirer during the period publisher David Pecker and editor Dylan Howard, in his words, “…transformed the grocery store tabloid into a criminal enterprise.”  He wrote a detailed memoir of his time at the National Enquirer in an April 2024 New York Times Magazine article “What I Saw Working at the National Enquirer during Donald Trump’s Rise.”  On Friday’s edition of “Deadline White House with Nicolle Wallace,” Cartwright revealed he was the source who provided information for the November 4, 2016 Wall Street Journal article, “National Enquirer Shielded Donald Trump from Playboy Model’s Affair Allegation,” which first exposed the “catch and kill” conspiracy.

Where CNN excelled was in the most up-to-date blogging of testimony from the overflow room at the courthouse.  (NOTE TO MSNBC HR:  Hire faster typists.) Moreover, CNN anchors, before analyzing the testimony, read the blogs as they came in, which proved indispensable for SiriusXM listeners who could not see the running dialogue on a sidebar.

For my regular followers, do not worry.  I am not planning to become a full time media critic.  As always, my goal is to find the story that everyone missed or got wrong.  In this case, it was the propensity of reporters and pundits on all of the media outlets to downplay the importance of this trial.  I realized how ludicrous this was when MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos described how he thought trial judge Juan Merchan might calculate appropriate punishment for the crimes committed.  He tried to explain how this was different from most false business records cases because the crime is usually tied to some monetary benefit (e.g. inflating value of an asset or tax evasion).  At which point, he said something that struck a nerve.  I do not have the transcript so I can only paraphrase.  Cevallos suggested there were no victims other than the voters because no individuals lost money as result of the conspiracy.  And the consequences of the January 6 trial and the classified records trial are more apparent and serious.

Sorry Danny.  You can only reach that conclusion, if you do not look hard enough.  I would argue this crime was the most consequential of any of the charges against Trump.   Why? The violent insurrection failed and Joe Biden was sworn in as president two weeks later.  He may have pressured Georgia election officials to change the vote count, but, in the end, he failed to get the state’s electoral votes.  The on-going investigation of the documents case may reveal more serious crimes based on who may or may not have been given access, but Trump is certainly under constant scrutiny to ensure he can do no further damage.

In this case, despite being found guilty, the conspiracy worked.  He became president of the United States.  He appointed three individuals to life-time appointments to the Supreme Court who perjured themselves before the Senate Judiciary Committee when asked about the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade.  Danny, do you think nobody has suffered monetarily from the Dobbs decision?  Or there is no financial element to the Court’s consistent judgments in favor of business over labor.

And how about the non-monetary consequences?  Do you think it makes no difference when individuals are denied a constitutional right when the Court dilutes minority voting power based on Supreme Court decisions nullifying the Voting Rights Act and refuses to acknowledge racial gerrymandering?

What about the hardship for families and friends of the 250,000 individuals who died of COVID during Trump’s last year in office when, in March 2020, Donald Trump told Americans there was nothing to worry about despite telling Bob Woodrow the opposite in two months earlier?  And how about the financial stress of those still suffering from long-COVID because of a man whose criminal behavior may have made the difference in the outcome of the 2016 election?

Are there no consequences when he gave away millions of dollars in federal revenue through tax cuts he lied would pay for themselves?  Instead, he added eight trillion dollars to the national debt.  Again Danny, do you really think there are no monetary consequences to the higher interest rates resulting from that gift to the “one percent” and major corporations?

Danny, I could go on and on about the monetary and non-monetary damages caused by this convicted felon, but hopefully you now see the whole picture.  This was the MOST consequential of all the charges against Trump when it comes to impact. 

Though I doubt it will make a difference, the public can send letters to Judge Merchan which will be part of the sentencing input.  I will be submitting a version of this blog for his consideration and urge others, especially if you have evidence that you have suffered from having a truly illegitimate president in the Oval Office.  Address your correspondence to: 

The Honorable Juan M. Merchan
Supreme Court of the State of New York
100 Centre Street
New York, NY  10013

NOTE: You know who got it right?  That liar, cheat and thief Michael Cohen.  In his first interview following the guilty verdict, Cohen urged listeners “not to handicap this trial against the others as if it was a horse race.”  His point, each of Donald Trump’s crimes have serious consequences. 

All you have to do is look.

For what it’s worth.


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