Not Guilty By Reason Of ‘Delusion’ — Democracy Hanging On Total Bullshit!

August 3, 2023

(Sketch above by Jane Rosenberg for Reuters, and found here.)

Once again the T-Rump was in a packed, anxious courtroom this afternoon for more criminal activity (The Washington Post): ‘Former president Donald Trump pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he plotted to overturn the 2020 election before and after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Trump appeared for his arraignment in a federal courthouse in Washington, just blocks away from where his supporters stormed the Capitol to try to keep him in power. A grand jury indicted Trump on four felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the nation, brought by special counsel Jack Smith.

Reportedly, a major plan of defense, according to the T-Rump’s lawyers, is that the Orange Asshole Turd really thought the 2020 election was dastardly stolen from him and he sort of went funny in the head — a legal twist with consequences, plus what about decades of T-Rump’s lies and bullshit (Axios):

  • If they proceed to trial, Trump’s lawyers effectively could be asking a jury to believe that the former president was delusional — undermining special counsel Jack Smith’s core thesis that Trump “knowingly” sought to defraud the country
  • The gambit could prove successful in court, where an already unfurling debate over the First Amendment is expected to play a starring role.
  • Politically, however, the “delusion defense” would force Republicans into the uncomfortable position of defending a candidate who can’t be trusted to distinguish reality from conspiracy — and who now wants to be president again.

Additional shit on this illusional point, per The Washington Post last night:

Donald Trump’s trial for allegedly conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election may hinge on a long-debated aspect of the former president’s mind-set: How much, or if, he believes his own false claims.


“I think the entire indictment really turns on the question of Trump’s intent,” said Robert Kelner, a veteran D.C. lawyer. “Arguably, there isn’t any smoking-gun evidence in the indictment regarding intent, though there is certainly circumstantial evidence. At the heart of the case is really a metaphysical question of whether it’s even possible for Donald Trump to believe that he lost the election, or lost anything else, for that matter.”

There’s a lifetime of lies and hoaxes and just bullshit. T-Rump was told repeatedly by a shitload of people, from Bill Barr to Mike Pence, and a mob of others, he lost the election, and no fraud — T-Rump lying to protect lies is the whole story.

Meanwhile, on the DC sidewalk was a muted chorus of delusional folks:

In the short history of T-Rump’s legal outings, this most-likely the most active –though, blah, maybe.
Some color on the sidewalk per ABC News:

Police and protesters — for and against Donald Trump — faced off outside the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., where the former president was arraigned Thursday afternoon.

More than 100 protesters gathered outside the courthouse before Trump’s 4 p.m. arraignment. They were joined by a large police presence patrolling the area.

A handful of Trump supporters carried large campaign flags that said, “Trump for President ’24” and “Finish The Wall.” Another held a sign that said, “Trump won.”

At one point, a fake presidential limousine drove near the courthouse with a passenger inside wearing a Trump mask. Around the time of Trump’s arrival, a man dressed as a Revolutionary soldier sang the National Anthem on a microphone; Trump supporters joined him in singing.

Anti-Trump protesters showed up as well — one of whom wore a black-and-white striped jail uniform; another protester screamed expletives from a megaphone.

You get the drift. Reports around the InterWebs painted a subdued picture of the sidewalk proceedings, with some arguments but no arrests or problems. The tension came from inside the courthouse.

Meanwhile again, another defense angle, beyond ‘delusion,’ may also not be well situated:

I still don’t understand — idiot, maybe, grabbing at empty legal threads?
T-Rump lawyer Lauro this evening (NBC News):

Trump attorney John Lauro, who was in court today for the arraignment, said this evening that he opposes any effort by the Justice Department to move quickly on the case.

“This is a this is a fast moving railroad without any concern for justice,” Lauro said during a Fox News interview with host Laura Ingraham.

“Speedy trial rights, are a defendant’s speedy trial rights, a citizen’s speedy trial rights, not the government. The government has an obligation to ensure a fair trial,” Lauro added.

The comments come after special counsel Jack Smith said earlier this week that his office would seek a “speedy trial,” against the former president. During Trump’s arraignment, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Windom told the judge that “this case will benefit from normal order, including a speedy trial.”

Lauro also said he opposed comments made by former Attorney General Bill Barr who told CNN on Wednesday that free speech rights don’t afford rights to “engage in a fraudulent conspiracy.”

“President Trump was out in the open petitioning the state legislatures petitioning the courts,” Lauro said. “There was nothing fraudulent going on. This is absolutely protected First Amendment speech.”

Whoa! The ‘First Amendment speech‘ thingie you’re blubbering about won’t hold water, buddy.
Margaret Sullivan at the Guardian this afternoon calls a no-no:

“What the government would have to prove in this case, beyond a reasonable doubt, is that speech is not protected by the first amendment, and they’ll never be able to do that,” Trump’s defense lawyer John Lauro said in a CBS News interview.

But the indictment anticipates that argument, and addresses it quickly – on the second page of this 45-page indictment.

“The Defendant had a right, like every American, to speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won,” it acknowledges. It adds that the former president also had the right to challenge the election through legal means like recounts, audits or lawsuits. (Trump, of course, did do these things, to no avail.)

Lying? Sure, that’s within the law. Challenging election results? Legal, too.

But then came the “unlawful” part: not mere words but criminal actions. Specifically, perpetrating conspiracies to discount legitimate votes and subvert the election results. In short, making concerted efforts to prevent the peaceful transfer of power – the very heart of American democracy.

Sorry, but the first amendment is not down with that.

“There is no First Amendment privilege to commit crimes just because you did it by speech,” Samuel Buell, a Duke University law professor who led the justice department’s prosecution of Enron, told the New York Times.

In Buell’s even simpler terms: “Tony Soprano can’t invoke the first amendment for telling his crew he wants someone whacked.”

In T-Rump’s worldview of the law, you can.

Delusional, or just an asshole liar, or not, yet here we are once again…

(Image out front by illustrator and portrait painter, Tim O’Brien, and can be found here.)

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