Trump Guilty – Not The Big Win You Think It Is

It’s big news, possibly from the littlest story. Certainly from the weakest of the trials against the former president.

News sites have been saying things like, “Donald Trump found guilty in hush money case” and thereby showing part of the problem here. It isn’t a hush money trial. The idea of a court case based on payments to an adult actress is great. It’s the plot of a good episode of a TV drama.

It’s not what we have just had. It’s not illegal in America to pay someone hush money and so it shouldn’t be. Firstly, I have worked with a few Americans and I often wish they were being paid to hush. But you can’t criminalise hush money or you’d be blaming the victim in a blackmail case for paying up.

The case all comes down to how payments were recorded. It’s an accounting thing. And if it is so easy to make the court case look like a misdirection, done by someone who is not a Trump fan, imagine the hay Trump supporters can make with this.

If you swing for the king you’d better not miss, or at least if you find Donald Trump to be a convicted felon, you’d better make sure it’s the case that is impactful and sticks.

The timing is awkward. It’s around six months before he goes head-to-head with Joe Biden. Will this scupper his chances? Of course not. This is a man who famously said he could walk onto Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it, and accountancy isn’t seen as deadly as shooting someone. Actually, there are parts of America that love their guns more than their accountants, so I’ll take that point back.

While some swaying voters will be put off by the idea of voting for a criminal the core vote, the base as they call it with Trump, are reinforced by news like this. The victim-in-chief loves to make out that everything is unfair towards him. In round one, up against Hillary Clinton, he gave us terms like “fake news” and made the press out to be the bad guys. That was helpful because when the press raise some issue he can they avoiding addressing it by calling the press names. An ad hominem against anyone who is a qualified journalist.

So imagine how this feeds into phase two, that the deep state is going after him. It was a weak sauce case.

Do most people think he slept with Stormy? God, yes. Probably even the evangelical right. But he got them their abortion rights win, so don’t blame the sinner, right? Well, unless that sinner needs an abortion. Anyway...

Do people think he used money, through his fixer, to try to make the story go away? Yeah, I bet they do. You’d expect it. It’s the polite thing to do.

Do people think that falsifying business records is a serious crime? No, because it’s not. Normally that would be a misdemeanour. You'd be given a fine, probably for less money that you saved cooking the books and that's how justice works.

Only if you line up all of the events, tie it to the outcome of the US election and have a following wind can you make it sound like a felony. It’ll work for the people who already didn’t like Trump and it proves he’s right to claim he’s a victim to those who already think he’s somehow both the messiah AND a very naughty boy.

He was found guilty of all 34 counts he faced. Unanimity was required for any verdict. WHy didn't they just find him guilty of, say 30 of them? It would be harder for the Trump die-hards to make out it was rigged.

Trump faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison, which doesn’t prevent him from running for the presidency and being president while in jail. It could mean he has to pick Red from Shawshank Redemption as his VP.

All we know so far is that this won’t be the end of it. Trump already spoke to the press (the fake news press?) and said that he was "a very innocent man". Now we’re living in a world where there are gradations of innocence.

Let’s hope the circus that follows this case doesn’t ruin things for the subsequent cases, which are more serious that paying money to get a porn star to close her mouth, for once, and the paperwork you have to do following that.

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