The 34 Reasons We All Have to be Grateful For
Last Thursday, I woke up and it was like Christmas morning with 34 beautifully-wrapped presents just waiting to be opened. That’s because Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg doled out Trump indictments like Santa Claus on an egg nog bender with 34 felony counts for falsifying documents. And if that sounds like a whole lot of trouble over nothing, you might just need a little refresher regarding what’s really going on here.
Now let’s start right out by suggesting that there is nothing criminal about paying hush money to a porn star to keep her silent about the affair you had with her while your wife was pregnant. Deeply, disturbingly wrong, but not criminal. But what is illegal is falsifying the financial records you used to divert campaign funds for that purpose in order to keep it silent from the press. That may not seem like much in the grand scheme of Trump’s high crimes and treasons, but a grand jury panel comprised of 16–23 people taxed with the duty of deciding wether or not there is enough evidence there to go forward with the prosecution of a crime clearly disagrees.
Let’s not forget that this is actually just one of four legitimate investigations into Trump’s illegal conduct, in which all of the others are probably more meritorious to the public and worrisome to Trump’s legal team. In addition to his treasonous acts surrounding the January 6th insurrection, Trump is also under investigation for tampering with the state results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election and his removal and retention of scores of classified documents. While specific charges have yet to be filed in any of these cases, we have all seen enough evidence in all of these cases to know that fucker is guilty. Ok, so maybe this NY falsifying records thing seems pretty small by comparison, but let’s not forget that it was charges of tax evasion that brought down Al Capone. That doesn’t mean we forgot about the fact that Capone murdered and racketeered the South Side of Chicago for decades. It just means that sometimes you have to go after head honchos with the crimes you can prove in court rather than all the ones you know they committed. Capone, by the way, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for crimes that amounted to nothing more than bookkeeping.
Still, there are many MAGA fans out there who suggest that this is a witch hunt predicated on nothing more than clerical errors. It’s funny to me, though, that these are the same law and order folks who want to see every other petty offense penalized to the fullest extent under the law. Well, as long as those folks aren’t white.
Isn’t it interesting how the MAGA crowd wants to dish out penalties for looters and rioters, but somehow feel like the Manhattan DA should just let Trump go for his crimes? When pressed on the case of George Floyd, they will suggest that he shouldn’t have broken the law and resisted arrest, but does anyone still remember the crime George Floyd was being detained for? That’s right- passing a $20 counterfeit bill. Hmmm, suddenly falsifying documents seems like a much bigger deal by comparison.
Part of the fundamental underpinnings of the American justice system is that everyone is equal under the law. That’s why Lady Justice is wearing a blindfold and carrying the balanced scales of justice. But we all know that if Trump had the chance, he would punch that bitch straight in the face and steal her blindfold and her scales. Then again, she is a woman so….maybe he’d just grab her by the pussy. Either way, our system is predicated on the notion of fairness, that the law applies to everyone and that no one, not even the former president of the United States is above the law.
Alvin Bragg is not merely sending a message to Trump and his band of cronies who have run amok engaging in clearly criminal conduct without consequence, he is reaffirming to all of us that fundamental notion that we are all equal under the purview of the criminal justice system. Yes, I am as skeptical of politically-motivated prosecutions as anyone (ok, perhaps not so much as some of those tin-foil hat MAGA supporters), but if you don’t want to do the time, don’t do the crime.
Bragg did not get to unilaterally file these charges against Trump. He went before a grand jury and persuaded them that there is enough evidence there to merit a prosecution, much of it coming from Trump’s own personal lawyer who himself got a three year sentence for the same crimes. George Floyd and the countless other black men, or just people period, who have been arrested for far pettier crimes such as selling cigarettes or dime bags of weed, haven’t been afforded the same luxury. Their grand jury is a singular police officer left to their own discretion. And we all know what happens when police officers are left to their own discretion.
Years from now, I am guessing that we will all be looking back and see this as just the first in a litany of indictments filed against Trump, and while these current charges will somewhat pale in comparison, they will also come to be seen as the rock that broke the dam open.
And I’ll be sitting there next to Hilary Clinton shouting, “Lock him up! Lock him up!”
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: In 1000 Words or Less every THURSDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com