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Monday’s historic trial isn’t about a President and porn star

On Monday, we’ll see the prelude of a historic confrontation.  On one side, a performer who looks directly into the camera and becomes what you want–a diplomat, an executive, a devoted parent, a clown–for your enjoyment and gratification.  On the other, Stormy Daniels.  On one side, a witness who has been consistent in testimony throughout various legal tribulations, proving a reliable witness.  On the other, a former President of the United States.

This isn’t a sex scandal.  No one is scandalized that Donald Trump had a sexual encounter with a porn star.  Nor is anyone shocked that he had an extramarital affair with a Playboy model.  Trump’s infidelity was known thanks to multiple media reports over the last three decades. This isn’t even a scandal about the women being paid to stay quiet; paying someone for signing a non-disclosure agreement isn’t illegal.

The trial will center on a corrupt relationship between a politician and a national media outlet to produce favorable stories to help a campaign.  Simply put:  this is about election interference.  Donald Trump (allegedly) used his money and connections to illegally pay former lovers, using his company’s money, his lawyer, and his media friends to launder illegal campaign contributions to protect his election prospects.

The facts of the case are undeniable:  they’re literally written in ink.  Donald Trump used Trump Organization company money–laundered through his lawyer Michael Cohen and his friend David Pecker’s American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer.  He then wrote off the costs as legal expenses; they weren’t.  

Trump, however, claimed that the payments weren’t to keep the affairs a secret from the public; he claims they were to keep them a secret from his wife, who had given birth to their first child, his known fifth, weeks before.  The case will hinge on the believability of that claim, along with the dismissal of dozens of frivolous claims of martyrdom and sacrifice.  Donald Trump, they will claim, is being prosecuted–in your stead–because his enemies fear him.

In the courtroom, though, there will be no “enemies,” just a prosecutor, defense lawyers, a judge and a jury of his peers.  Trump’s on-camera personae and excuses will be muted as facts are presented.  His lawyers will echo his claims during their opening and closing statements, but they’ll present no evidence that the crime never occurred; they’ll just say it’s what happens in his circles.  When you’re a celebrity, you see, they let you do it.

The political question of all this, though, will be how many supporters will he lose as the divulsion of the facts evolves.  DA Alvin Bragg’s team will link the payments to Trump’s ambitions, demonstrating how craven Trump was.  Trump, Bragg will say, wanted to mislead the multitude of voters, not his wife.  It happened right after the infamous “Access Hollywood” became public.  He wanted to save face, not his marriage.  He wanted to save his presidential prospect.  And the effort to shut down the story wasn’t just a one-off; it was a system AMI had set up.  

Will Trump voters who pay attention to the trial take away the message that Trump is completely innocent of the crime and is the victim he says he is?  Most will, yes.  But many will hear the testimony and see the evidence and begin to understand Trump for what he is: a rich man who thought he could us his money to erase his indiscretions–to buy the Presidency.

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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