Dave Simpson: The Trump Trial -- What A Disaster

Columnist Dave Simpson writes, "“Remember when convictions of black defendants in the south were reported with the words 'by an all-white jury?' If Trump is convicted, the media probably won't write 'convicted by an all-Democrat jury.'”

Dave Simpson

May 27, 20244 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

If you ask me – and I can't help noticing that you didn't – Donald Trump's trial in New York has virtually nothing in common with our courts out here in Blessed Flyover Country.

In the words of noted philosopher Martha Stewart, that's “a good thing,.”

Way back when I was a reporter, any kid with a Bic pen and a reporter's notebook could find out what a person was charged with in a simple visit to the Clerk of the Court's Office.

I did it every weekday at the courthouse in Laramie. There, on the counter, in file folders, were the latest developments in the cases of those accused of serious crimes.

Even a 23-year-old cub reporter could clearly see what a defendant was charged with.

Not so in New York lately, as our former president is on trial for 34 misdemeanor bookkeeping “crimes,” each long since expired under the Statute of Limitations, but somehow resurrected on the promise they will be joined with some other crime – so far unannounced - elevating it to felony level.

 And maybe putting a presidential candidate in prison.

Unbelievably, the unnamed crime that bootstraps this all into a felony is expected to be revealed this week IN CLOSING ARGUMENTS.

Never saw anything like that in my reporting days.

I covered four murder trials – the most interesting stories I ever reported – and in each one the charge against the defendant was clear months before the case went to trial.

Making things worse, the New York judge presiding over the trumped up Trump trial is openly hostile to the former president and his attorneys. It's reminiscent of the angry judge in the Paul Newman movie “The Verdict” back in 1982.

In the most outrageous development yet, last week Trump judge Juan Merchon ruled that jurors would not be required to reach unanimous verdicts on the underlying “predicate charges” to convict.

So much for the hope that the two lawyers and two engineers on the jury could stop the madness. All four could vote against conviction on the underlying charges and Trump could still be found guilty.

This is going on in Deep Blue Manhattan, a Democrat stronghold if ever there was one.

Here in Wyoming, in contrast, three of the four murder cases I covered involved changes of venue. The trial of two guys who murdered two ranchers east of Cheyenne was moved to Laramie because of pre-trial publicity.

The trial of a guy who murdered a service station attendant east of Rawlins was moved to Laramie for the same reason. And the trial of a doctor accused of drugging his wife to death was moved from Douglas to Sheridan.

Out here, the courts frequently moved trials in the interest of finding unbiased jurors.

Not so in Trump's trial, where he faces jurors who likely voted for Joe Biden, who probably didn't approve of Trump's actions as president, and who oppose Trump's current election bid. 

It would have been easy to move the trial to, say, Staten Island, where the mix of Republicans and Democrats is less lopsided. But, no.

(Remember when convictions of black defendants in the south were reported with the words “by an all-white jury?” If Trump is convicted on these crazy charges, the media probably won't say “convicted by an all-Democrat jury.”)

Four decades after I was that kid reporter in Laramie, I was called for jury duty here in Cheyenne. I served on a jury deciding the case of a man charged with conducting illegal cock fights. We found the guy not guilty (but only after the county bought us a nice lunch).

It was a remarkable experience, seeing a trial from the jury box instead of the press seats. I was struck by the dogged determination of that jury to do the right thing, and reach the correct verdict.

(Would that our Congress operated with such hard work and selfless virtue.)

So maybe those New York jurors will rise above politics and stop the madness, with either a hung jury, or a verdict of not guilty.

But, don't bet the farm on it.

A famous movie line comes to mind. In the case of New York vs. Donald Trump, “We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.”

Or Wyoming.

Dave Simpson can be reached at: DaveSimpson145@hotmail.com

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Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.