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Elie Honig’s Description of Trump’s Prosecution Should Appall Liberals

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  s  •  2 weeks ago  •  8 comments

Elie Honig’s Description of Trump’s Prosecution Should Appall Liberals

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


This   piece , by Elie Honig in   New York Magazine , is well worth a read. Here’s an excerpt:


Most importantly, the DA’s charges against Trump push the outer boundaries of the law and due process. That’s not on the jury. That’s on the prosecutors who chose to bring the case and the judge who let it play out as it did.

The district attorney’s press office and its flaks often proclaim that falsification of business records charges are “ commonplace ” and, indeed, the office’s “ bread and butter .” That’s true only if you draw definitional lines so broad as to render them meaningless. Of course the DA charges falsification quite frequently; virtually any fraud case involves some sort of fake documentation.

But when you impose meaningful search parameters, the truth emerges: The charges against Trump are obscure, and nearly entirely unprecedented. In fact,  no state prosecutor  — in New York, or Wyoming, or anywhere — has ever charged federal election laws as a direct or predicate state crime, against anyone, for anything. None. Ever. Even putting aside the specifics of election law, the Manhattan DA itself  almost never  brings any case in which falsification of business records is the only charge.

Standing alone, falsification charges would have been mere misdemeanors under New York law, which posed two problems for the DA. First, nobody cares about a misdemeanor, and it would be laughable to bring the first-ever charge against a former president for a trifling offense that falls within the same technical criminal classification as  shoplifting  a Snapple and a bag of Cheetos from a bodega. Second, the  statute of limitations  on a misdemeanor — two years — likely has long expired on Trump’s conduct, which dates to 2016 and 2017.

So, to inflate the charges up to the  lowest-level felony  (Class E, on a scale of Class A through E) — and to electroshock them back to life within the longer felony statute of limitations — the DA alleged that the falsification of business records was committed “with intent to commit another crime.” Here, according to prosecutors, the “another crime” is a  New York State election-law  violation, which in turn incorporates three separate “unlawful means”: federal campaign crimes, tax crimes, and falsification of still more documents. Inexcusably, the DA refused to specify what those unlawful means actually were — and the judge declined to force them to pony up — until right before closing arguments. So much for the constitutional obligation to provide notice to the defendant of the accusations against him in advance of trial. (This, folks, is what indictments are for.)

In these key respects, the charges against Trump aren’t just unusual. They’re bespoke, seemingly crafted individually for the former president and nobody else.

I am against this behavior. Indeed, that I am against this behavior is why I often call myself a “liberal” or a “classical liberal” or an “old-style liberal.” This is not how I think the government should behave, and my view on that does not change depending on whether I like the target, believe him to be a good person, or have a direct or indirect political interest in his case. Phrases such as “push the outer boundaries of the law and due process,” “so broad as to render them meaningless,” “obscure, and nearly entirely unprecedented,” and “inflate the charges” and “electroshock them back to life” give me the willies. So do sentences that read, “the DA refused to specify what those unlawful means actually were.” That is true when they are written about some local nobody and it is true when they are about the former president of the United States. It is true when they are applied to someone of excellent character and it is true when they are applied to a moral reprobate. It is even true when the person who is being railroaded has tried to railroad others.

That is liberalism, in the old sense of the word. What Elie Honig records in his piece is not liberalism. It is something else — something grotesque. If you read his words and find yourself indifferent to them — or, even, pleased by them — that is your prerogative. But please understand what you are, what you now stand for, and what you are certainly   not —   which is a person who believes in equality, the rule of law, the American system of justice, and, frankly, anything much at all beyond a craven short term desire to win.


Article is LOCKED by author/seeder
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Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Sean Treacy    2 weeks ago

The entire piece by Honig is well worth reading but its behind a paywall.  Hopefully  a liberal writing in a liberal magazine can break through  the "if the jury voted it must be okay" denseness that seem so popular on the left today, at least. 

If you read his words and find yourself indifferent to them — or, even, pleased by them — that is your prerogative. But please understand what you are, what you now stand for, and what you are certainly      not —       which is a person who believes in equality, the rule of law, the American system of justice, and, frankly, anything much at all beyond a craven short term desire to win.

Or as Cooke (an anti Trumper)  tweeted more succinctly:

If you read that Elie Honig piece and are fine with what he describes, then you ought to stop calling yourself a "liberal."

. Phrases such as “push the outer boundaries of the law and due process,” “so broad as to render them meaningless,” “obscure, and nearly entirely unprecedented,” and “inflate the charges” and “electroshock them back to life” give me the willies. So do sentences that read, “the DA refused to specify what those unlawful means actually were.” That is true when they are written about some local nobody and it is true when they are about the former president of the United States
 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2  seeder  Sean Treacy    2 weeks ago
when you impose meaningful search parameters, the truth emerges: The charges against Trump are obscure, and nearly entirely unprecedented. In fact,   no state prosecutor    — in New York, or Wyoming, or anywhere — has ever charged federal election laws as a direct or predicate state crime, against anyone, for anything. None. Ever. Even putting aside the specifics of election law, the Manhattan DA itself    almost never    brings any case in which falsification of business records is the only charge.

Standing alone, falsification charges would have been mere misdemeanors under New York law, which posed two problems for the DA. First, nobody cares about a misdemeanor, and it would be laughable to bring the first-ever charge against a former president for a trifling offense that falls within the same technical criminal classification as    shoplifting    a Snapple and a bag of Cheetos from a bodega. Second, the    statute of limitations   on a misdemeanor — two years — likely has long expired on Trump’s conduct, which dates to 2016 and 2017...

n these key respects, the charges against Trump aren’t just unusual. They’re bespoke, seemingly crafted individually for the former president and nobody else.

Find the man, and I'll show you the crime school of authoritarianism. 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Expert
3  Nerm_L    2 weeks ago

Beyond the rather obvious LA brick to the head, the whole motivation for Bragg was to file indictments as an excuse to remove Trump from primary ballots.  That didn't work.  Then the motivation became seeking a conviction that would provide the excuse to remove Trump from election ballots.  That's fallen apart, too.

So, Alvin Bragg set an ultra-conservative legal precedent that undermines any idea of criminal justice reform and failed to achieve any of the intended political goals.  Bragg's prosecutorial application of the law is actually a throw back to the dark old days of segregation.  Democrats gotta do what Democrats have always done.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  Sean Treacy  replied to  Nerm_L @3    2 weeks ago
 Bragg set an ultra-conservative legal precedent that undermines any idea of criminal justice reform and failed to achieve any of the intended political goals.

I assume if Trump loses the New York State will happily throw the appeal. No one other than police state fetishizers can want an appellate court to adopt these decisions as precedent. 

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Sparty On  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.1    2 weeks ago

Winner: Pandoras Box

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
4  Greg Jones    2 weeks ago

They have intentionally set a precedent that will likely be used against them in the future. They're the party of instant and temporary gratification, rarely thinking ahead about the unintended consequences created by their stupidity, which can come back to haunt them.

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Guide
4.1  MrFrost  replied to  Greg Jones @4    2 weeks ago
rarely thinking ahead about the unintended consequences created by their stupidity, which can come back to haunt them.

So you believe in global warming now? 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
4.1.1  seeder  Sean Treacy  replied to  MrFrost @4.1    2 weeks ago
No state prosecutor — in New York, or Wyoming, or anywhere — has ever charged federal election laws as a direct or predicate state crime, against anyone, for anything. None. Ever. Even putting aside the specifics of election law, the Manhattan DA itself almost never brings any case in which falsification of business records is the only charge.

And you comment on global warming.  Cool

 
 

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