Understanding the verdict

As I said in my initial reaction to the verdict, I was surprised that serial sex abuser and now convicted felon Donald Trump (SSACFT) was found guilty on all charges. I had heard many legal experts opine before that of all the cases that were brought against him, this was the weakest as it hinged on a combination of fairly esoteric offenses and that the key witness against SSACFT Michael Cohen was himself someone who was an admitted liar. Since a conviction requires a unanimous verdict that is beyond reasonable doubt, all it required was for one juror to hold out for there to be a mistrial, which would be trumpeted by the Maganuts as an acquittal.

In addition, SSACFT is a former president and though that should not be a factor in their consideration, jurors are human and I thought that it was unlikely that jurors would convict him unless they thought that the case was a slam dunk. The fact that the unanimous verdict came in on all counts in the relatively short time after about 10 hours of deliberations seem to indicate that they indeed thought it was a fairly easy decision.

The judge told the jurors that they are free to discuss the case and so we may hear from some of them about how they arrived at their verdict, though given how vicious SSACFT’s supporters are, some of them may well decide to lay low and not give any interviews. If I had to make a guess as to why things went south for the defense, it would be that SSACFT’s lawyers had no choice but to follow his directions and he was adamant about denying that he had ever had sex with Stormy Daniels. The case that he had done so was strong that jurors may have decided that since he was lying about that, he could just as easily have been lying as to the reasons he gave for the money given to her, which was the heart of the falsifying of business records case. If he had simply admitted the Daniels liaison and said that he paid her off to avoid embarrassment, that might have been plausible. But we will not really know what sank his defense until some of the jurors talk.

As is no surprise, SSACFT and his toadies in the Republican party are using this verdict to furiously discredit the judicial system entirely, arguing that somehow Joe Biden was pulling the strings on the prosecution, even though this was not a federal case and the Manhattan district attorney’s office operates independently of the department of justice. But while they may try to paint the judge and prosecutors as motivated by animus towards him, it will be a harder sell to do that with the jury. They will try to argue that the entire area that produced the jury pool is biased against him but that is difficult to sustain. About 200 people were in the pool initially and there was a careful weeding out process before they got to the final twelve and SSACFT’s lawyers participated in the process. But in the MAGA world, reason is absent and they think nothing of tarnishing the institutions of democracy without evidence or logic in order to serve their narrow interests.

Sentencing is on July 11 and that should be very interesting. Usually upon conviction, defendants try to get a lenient sentence by expressing remorse for their actions. We saw this with many of the January 6th defendants who said that they were sorry that they took part, that they were misled or were not thinking straight or something along those lines. While the sincerity of their repentance can be questioned, the fact is that that they felt that it was a good thing to do. I simply cannot see SSACFT doing this. It is completely against his way of doing things to ever say that he was wrong about anything or to express any kind of remorse.

He has also repeatedly attacked the judge and did so even after the verdict came in. Although I think that judge Merchan must have been irritated by this puerile behavior, I doubt that he will give him a prison sentence, though he could. These types of cases, and the fact that SSACFT is a first time offender, would make that unlikely. But he can issue fines, community service, probation, house arrest, or a combination of all four.

I do not know what Merchan will do but I would love to see someone as selfish and self-centered as SSACFT be required to do community service. For most convicted felons, community service would be seen as getting off lightly. But for him, that would be far more humiliating than even going to prison or being put under house arrest. With those, he could play the role of martyr. But with community service, you are required to work on behalf of others in public and that will really stick in his craw. The idea of him being required to do street cleanup or something is really appealing

The New Yorker has released next week’s cover early, small hands and all.


  1. steve oberski says

    One thing that Judge Merchan could do would be to find T**** in contempt for repeatedly violating the gag order and toss him in jail while awaiting the verdict.

  2. ardipithecus says

    The greatest roadside garbage picker-upper ever. Nobody ever amassed more garbage than me!”

  3. Matt G says

    Community service is a great idea, Mano. He’d be doing something for someone else for the first time in his life (albeit not voluntarily…).

  4. seachange says

    Dude has been convicted of racism (awhile ago) and defamation (twice, recently, showing an inability or unwillingness to conform) and contempt of court (with threatening behavior).

    He is not a first time offender, this is a factual error.

  5. lanir says

    Guilty on all charges makes me think the prosecution was likely very careful with what charges they made. Again, something they wouldn’t worry about for any of us.

    I doubt conservatives will struggle to discredit the jury. They’ll just make a link to some hated foe, probably Democrats, and that’s all it will take. It’s like convincing racists that the group they focus their hate on is behind something they dislike. How do you do that? You just say there’s a connection and you’re already done.

  6. KG says

    Todd Blanche, one of Trump’s lawyers, has complained that Trump could not get a fair trial in New York because all New Yorkers knew Trump as president, candidate and host of The Apprentice. But of course that would be true anywhere, and would also be true of anyone else sufficiently well-known. So Blanche is implying that no celebrity should ever be tried for anything -- they should be able to rob, rape and murder as they please, without penalty.

  7. KG says

    I think all those cases were civil, not criminal, which means he is, legally, a “first time offender”.

  8. Some Old Programmer says

    I was really hoping that SSACFT would be barred from voting in Florida as a convicted felon. Unfortunately some searching leads me to believe that an out-of-state conviction will follow the rules of the state of conviction, and New York allows anyone not imprisoned to vote. Such a shame; I’d savor the prevention of voter fraud in this case.

  9. xohjoh2n says


    Such a shame; I’d savor the prevention of voter fraud in this case.

    Are you claiming Trump is already dead? Or a non-resident alien? Or posting multiple ballots?

  10. Tethys says

    I’m sure the Judge will continue to insure that the law is followed in this case. As to sentencing, I don’t know if the maximum is 4 years, or 4x34. Why shouldn’t he receive a harsher sentence than Cohen did in committing this fraud?

  11. John Morales says

    Tethys, on the one hand, the judge held him in contempt on 10 different occasions, on the other, he’s a first time offender and it’s a white collar crime and it’s a first offense and he has no criminal record.

    My expectation?

    Can’t really expect jail time for that, and oh boy is the justice system grinding it out with him.

    But then, with all that leeway he’s given and the restraint he’s shown, the judge has made it almost impossible (in my estimation) for trump to win any sort of appeal.

    And, of course, precedent is now set.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    I am cautiously optimistic about long-term effects.
    The MAGA crowd neither understands the verdict, nor care, but they are only 35-40%. SSAT needs more voters to support him. How many Americans think the president should be more gangster, like an Ali G clone?

    After November an increasingly nervous SSAT may have nothing but the additional court cases to look forward to. And the ‘establishment’ Republicans will have discredited themselves by kissing the ring of a felon loser without a political future.

    Even if the boss *sshole escapes prison, he will drag down others along with him.

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