While the number of trees that had to die to contribute paper for newspapers and magazines on the day after Trump’s New York jury found him guilty as charged is mammoth, I’m not going to miss the opportunity to add my nickel (the inflationary two cents)! Here, in no particular order, are my thoughts:

  1. IT’S THE ELECTION, STUPID. November 5, and all the voting and counting before and after, is the story. Democrats, Republicans and independents are unified in this view.
  2. THEY SHOULD SELL TICKETS TO TRUMP’S PRE-SENTENCE INTERVIEW. Under New York law, after a defendant’s conviction and before the sentencing, “a probation officer (or a social worker or psychologist working for the probation department) interviews the defendant…[and] makes recommendations for sentencing…The pre-sentence interview is a chance for the defendant to try to make a good impression and explain why he or she deserves a lighter punishment.” See “Pre- Sentence Report” at NY COURTS.GOV. Perhaps we can predict how Trump will handle this interview, if he even shows up. Something like: “Probation: Why do you think you deserve little or no punishment? Trump: Shove it up your ass, you creep!”
  3. FORSWEAR READING OR LISTENING TO POLLS. Starting today pollsters will bombard us with alleged public reaction to Trump’s conviction and its effect on respondents’ votes on Election Day. People who cannot predict what they will have for dinner today will opine to pollsters on how they will vote on November 5. Even If all the poll results are almost identical that merely suggests how they feel today. There’s a campaign coming; no one really concentrates until after Labor Day.
  4. NEW YORK LAW HEAVILY FAVORS THE PROSECUTION IN THIS CASE. A lot of armchair lawyers are thinking or saying “how can it be?” How can it be that jurors were permitted to choose among three felonies as the one that elevated the false records from misdemeanors to felonies and that each juror could select the one or more without the concurrence of the others? Because that is New York law. Here are the relevant portions of Judge Juan Merchan’s charge: “For the crime of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, the intent to defraud must include an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof. Under our law, although the People must prove an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof, they need not prove that the other crime was in fact committed, aided, or concealed.” (Italics mine.) Similarly “intent to defraud” is defined generally without reference to any person or entity.
  5. DANGER OF VIOLENCE. The thing that scares me the most is the possibility that violence will be unleashed against the judge, counsel, witnesses, the defendant or jurors. Each of the actors in People v. Trump must have 24-hour protection by NYPD until further notice. There are psychopaths and unmedicated crazies roaming New York City, believe it.
  6. WHY ARE CRIMINAL CASES IN NEW YORK CAPTIONED “PEOPLE” V. DEFENDANT? You may have noticed that most journalism surrounding People v. Trump, print and tv, does not refer to the case by its official name. Instead the “people” is called the “state” or the “government.” In court, the state is always called “the People” as in “the People are ready.” The reason the customary case caption is used is because it pits the local community against one lone person in an act of collective condemnation. As you might have anticipated, woke sensibilities are rebelling against this caption because the poor, racial minorities and the defenseless allegedly suffer from the opprobrium so imposed. Of course outlets like Fox News Channel stay away from the official caption because the “people” going after the powerful Trump offends them. To them, the “state” is a better name for the swamp.
  7. JURORS SEE CASES ESSENTIALLY AS A DISPUTE AMONG LAWYERS. Often, but not always, jurors favor the lawyer who has done a better job. In my opinion, and based on my experience as both a prosecutor and a defense counsel, I have no question that counsel for the People was far superior to Trump’s lawyers. Without reaching the question of Trump’s imposition of his wishes on his lawyers’ conduct of his defense and passing the inept and ineffective cross examination of some of the prosecution’s witnesses, my opinion is based on the respective summations. Trump’s summation was laconic and all over the lot. The District Attorney’s summation was focused and comprehensive, emphasizing the exhibits and testimony that corroborated the confessed liar and thief Michael Cohen. I was particularly taken by the prosecutor’s handling of Cohen when, paraphrasing, he said that the People did not pick Cohen, that Trump did, and that the People did not get Cohen at the witness store.

Those that followed the case were subjected to tv’s stilted and inadequate recitation of the substance of witness testimony as reported by journalists present in court in an overflow courtroom. This is because television is not allowed based on 1830 legislation at a time when television did not exist. I don’t think they had pencils then !