Work and wisdom of Trump’s trial jury should be respected

Donald Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts of falsification of business records. It is important that we understand that these convictions were about more than falsification of business records. They were about unlawful interference in an election.

Trump, Michael Cohen and David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer met in Trump’s office in November, 2015 to devise a scheme wherein Pecker put the National Enquirer behind Mr. Trump’s campaign for president. According to Pecker’s testimony, he offered to buy stories that were damaging to Trump and bury them. He also agreed to publish false, damaging stories about Trump’s opponents.

During the course of the campaign,Pecker published a story that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination and that Rubio was at a party with underage girls. These were lies. He also paid Karen McDougal for her story about an affair with Trump. He paid $180,000 for these stories.

Then Stormy Daniels threatened to expose the affair she had with Mr. Trump shortly after the “Access Hollywood” tape aired. Pecker said he was finished paying for stories for Trump so Cohen offered to pay her $130,000 and Trump agreed to repay him at $35,000 per month, identifying the payments as “legal expenses,” rather than campaign contributions.

This scheme violated New York’s election law. It was an unlawful attempt to influence an election. Conspiring with a newspaper to defame political opponents and deprive the public of information they need to make an informed decision, is unlawful and violates New York election law.

This crime was not about hush money. It was about unlawfully interfering in an election.

The fact remains that the judge, the parties, their attorneys and the jury were the only ones to sit through the entire trial, listen to all the witnesses, listen to various tapes and review all of the documents. That jury studied and discussed the evidence in the case for ten hours and returned a unanimous verdict of guilty on all counts.

Trump will appeal that verdict, but the verdict must be respected in any country honoring the rule of law.

Melissa C. Batson


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