After Trump conviction, Bragg becomes the target

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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg deserves to take a bow following his undeniable victory.

A New York jury delivered a guilty verdict in a trial largely devoid of political theater and intense media upheaval. That’s thanks to a judge who, during the multiple-week trial, managed to maintain civility and order and ensure the rights of all parties were upheld fairly.

Former President Trump was convicted on not one, not two, but 34 felony counts. Supporters are outraged. Detractors are pleased.

From the moment he brought a criminal case against the former president, Bragg himself was put on trial by many of Trump’s supporters. His legal case was also arrogantly dismissed by network political analysts and columnists, who thought it was weak, flimsy, and overly complex, and that he was misguided for bringing it forward. It was as if Bragg himself was guilty of incompetence.

The truth is Bragg possesses stealth political acumen and experience in dealing with public corruption and white-collar crime. As Manhattan district attorney, he successfully secured the conviction of Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, on 15 felony counts. He was victorious in winning a six-count indictment against Trump’s former strategist, Steve Bannon, on money laundering and conspiracy charges in a case that is still pending. During his tenure at the New York State attorney general’s office, Bragg spearheaded the investigation into the Trump Foundation, which was dismantled by court order to settle accusations of misuse of donors’ charitable funds.

The verdict confirms Trump committed numerous crimes to disguise crucial information about himself from the American people for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election. It established even more facts about how far Trump was willing to go, including disregarding the law and pushing others to break the law for political gain. This sinister inclination — to overturn traditional democratic norms and misdirect the law to serve his own agenda — is at the heart of two other criminal cases against the former president for the much more serious charges of spreading scurrilous falsehoods and aiding and abetting a criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election.

In addition, Trump has been further charged with mishandling highly classified national security documents after leaving office and sharing classified documents with individuals who were not authorized to see them. His attorneys have been successful in delaying those three trials.

Trump brought his own case against Bragg, calling the 34 felony count indictment a case of “political persecution” and denouncing Bragg in racially coded language as a “thug” and a “degenerate psychopath.” He insulted Justice Juan Merchan, commenting that he “looks like an angel but he’s really a devil.” Trump also encouraged his largely unhinged supporters to attack and denounce the verdict, with sycophantic Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) calling Trump’s indictment a “shocking and dangerous day for the rule of law in America” and “one of the most irresponsible decisions in American history by any prosecutor.” Graham predicted Trump would win in court.

“Guilty on all counts,” Megyn Kelly tweeted. The country is disgraced. Alvin Bragg should be disbarred. They will rue the day they unleashed this lawfare to corrupt a presidential election.” Numerous other Republican politicians, from Tim Scott to speaker Mike Johnson to Marco Rubio, have deliriously rushed to the defense of Trump.

Such unalloyed support for the former president is hardly surprising. After all, this is the man who once bragged that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, shoot somebody, and not lose a single vote. When he declared such a perverse prediction in January 2016, Trump was brash and arrogant. “It’s, like, incredible,” he said about the loyalty of his voters. After this verdict, he was less brash and more angry, less confident and more aggrieved. Lacking any degree of remorse, he cried about a “rigged trial by a conflicted judge” and predicted, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here.”

The bigger question is, after this verdict, will he retain such unprecedented loyalty from his political base? Sad to say, his die-hard supporters will remain dutiful, more loyal than ever.

One of the more positive outcomes of this verdict is the fact the rule of law applies to everyone, including a former president. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the conduct of the trial was ordinary. Twelve average Americans sitting in judgment on a former president and rendering a verdict is classic democracy in action.

Now, it is up to those of us who desire to maintain our system to work feverishly. Too much is at stake.

Copyright 2024 Elwood Watson, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate

Elwood Watson is a professor of history, Black studies, and gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. He is also an author and public speaker.

Elwood Watson, Ph.D. is a professor of history, Black studies, and gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. He is also an author and public speaker.