In the Nixon years not all of the president’s men went to prison. John Mitchell, H.R. Haldeman was imprisoned, John Ehrlichman was indicted and Charles Colson narrowly avoided conviction for their transgressions. Seven members of Donald Trump’s legal team, including Trump himself, are among the 19 defendants indicted by Georgia. They include Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis. If they are convicted, neither Trump or any other president can pardon them. A speedy trial often means a quick conviction. A quick trial often means a quick conviction.
In Jack Smith’s federal case in Washington, Trump is the sole defendant, but six unindicted lawyers with pseudonyms like “Co-Conspirator 1,” were, according to the indictment “enlisted … to assist him in his criminal efforts to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election and retain power.” Five of the six are clearly identifiable from their descriptions in the indictment: Giuliani, Eastman, Powell, Clark and Chesebro. A political apparatchik Boris Epshteyn is also thought to be the “Co-Conspirator 6,” though no one is sure. As the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit stated, “doctors, and lawyers, have been known for committing crimes.” Meadows’ conduct in relation to the attempted coup has a particular significance. The White House chief is an important position. Chris Whipple’s book, “The Gatekeepers”, states that the chief of staff is the president’s “gatekeeper, confidant and honest broker of information. He also acts as his “javelin-catcher” to oversee the implementation of his agenda. But the chief’s most important duty is to tell the president hard truths.” Meadows, Whipple argues, fell far short of the task.
Interestingly, the dichotomy between official duties and personal conduct figures strongly in Meadows’s case. He is being tried by Georgia prosecutor Fani Wilis after his unsuccessful attempt to transfer his case to federal court. He argues that everything he did was done in the course and scope of his duties as White House Chief of Staff. Really! Meadows was the person who, according to Trump, helped him arrange meetings in the Oval Office with key players. Meadows also participated in the famous “find 11,780 voters” phone call that took place between Georgia Secretary of state Brad Raffensberger and Trump. Meadows traveled to Cobb County in Georgia, where he attempted to barge into a meeting on election audits. Other people in Trump World are facing big bills. Trump’s PAC, while footing Trump’s legal bills to the tune of $40 million, has refused to underwrite the legal fees of Giuliani, Ellis or Eastman as their troubles begin to mount.
Giuliani faces a big judgment in the defamation action brought in D.C. by Georgia election workers Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman. District Judge Beryl Howell has just entered a default judgment against him as a sanction imposed by the court for Giuliani’s failure to provide discovery.
Giuliani not only suffers a financial penalty, with the amount of compensatory and punitive damages he must pay to be determined. The plaintiffs’ lawyers’ fees will be his responsibility as well. Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist and author of “Everything Trump touches Dies” in 2018, was right on the money. Norman Eisen, an eminent former federal prosecutor at Brookings and Brookings fellow, has compiled a list of over 1,200 people involved in Trump’s plot to destroy the republic. The construction shows that Trump assembled a group of brothers who resemble a mafia organization chart. The frightening thing about this revelation is how many people were prepared to go to the mat for Trump — and how close they came to succeeding.
Many in Eisen’s ugly cast of characters will pay dearly for their involvement with Donald Trump. Some will. Trump is at the center of this conspiracy. Four criminal cases have been filed against Trump, containing 91 felony charges. There are 44 federal and 47 State charges. There are also serious civil cases, which have been brought in at least 3 states, claiming that Trump is not eligible to hold public office due to Section Three of Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. This one is definitely headed to the Supreme Court. The first trial of Trump is scheduled for March 4, in Washington. He could be convicted prior to the election. Can it happen that an indicted man, much more a convicted felon, can become the 47th president of the United States?
Meanwhile, according to Five Thirty Eight, the latest polling shows Trump with 50.3 percent of the vote among Republican primary voters, and one point ahead of Biden in the general election.
As Cicero sighed some 2,100 years ago, “O tempora! O mores!
James Zirin is an author and legal analyst. He was a federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York. He is also the host of the acclaimed public television talk show and podcast
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