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The felonies have finally caught up to Donald J. Trump

Ronald Mitchell
The felonies have finally caught up to Donald J. Trump
Courthouse veteran defendant The Donald feels the heat.

On April 15, jury selection began in The People of the State of New York v. Donald Trump. This is the first-ever criminal trial of a former president of the United States, and it is one of four criminal and civil cases against Trump that are percolating before the presidential election of 2024.

With 201 days remaining before Americans go to the polls to elect the next resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the country is mired in reality-TV-show-like news coverage featuring the former president. Jurors in the New York case against Trump will hear arguments on a 34-count indictment brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg that centers around an alleged illegal hush money payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels that was disguised as corporate legal expenses.

Prosecutors say Trump falsified business records to cover up payments made to Daniels and a second woman, Karen McDougal, to cover up his alleged extramarital affairs. Listing the payments as corporate “legal expenses” is in violation of New York law.

In Florida, Trump is facing criminal charges that he illegally withheld from federal authorities classified documents he had stored at his Mar-a-Lago residence. While U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon previously indicated she is inclined to postpone the May 20 date for the start of that trial, the Trump appointee has given no indication of when she’ll set a new date.

In Georgia, the former president faces a racketeering indictment alleging he pressured state officials to overturn 2020 election results — an effort that included the recruitment of fake electors who sought to deliver the state’s Electoral College votes to Trump. On April 4, an Atlanta judge rejected Trump’s lawyers’ efforts to have the case thrown out on the grounds that his efforts to undermine the state’s votes were protected by the First Amendment.

In Washington, D.C., Trump faces three conspiracy charges and one charge of obstruction stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in his backing of the Jan. 6 insurrection. His lawyers are arguing before the Supreme Court that Trump had immunity from prosecution, as he was still the President at the time.

Adding to this maelstrom of legal trouble is the fact that Trump has already had two judgments against him in a sexual abuse case, totaling $88.3 million, having been found guilty of assaulting and defaming author E. Jean Carroll.

Even more troubling for the former president is that fact that as indictments add up, he now owes $355 million in legal fees from a New York civil fraud ruling, bringing his outstanding legal fees to half a billion dollars.

From the beginning, business owners who have dealt with Trump have alleged that the former president was a huckster. He notoriously shorted union contractors and business owners, as outlined in a “60 Minutes” story in the early 2000s. With his platform as the presumptive GOP nominee, he’s taken his con national — selling gold sneakers and coins and listing his social media company, Truth Social, on the stock exchange. Truth Social has since reported $43 million in losses.

It seems unfathomable that this person really is a candidate for president in the most powerful country in the world, but that speaks to the misinformation that is allowed to be disseminated and passed off as truth.

We as a nation must not ignore the tremendous threat that lies passed off as truths have created in our society. We all must embrace each other with love, understanding and — equally important — the truth.

Our country stands at a dangerous crossroads between democracy and oligarchy. It’s up to us to make sure we choose democracy.   

2020 election, capitol insurrection, Donald Trump, E. Jean Carroll, editorial, Stormy Daniels