Guilty.

Vince Rizzo
5 min readMay 31, 2024

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The wait was worth it. Guilty on all 34 counts. Donald Trump cannot escape his deeds. The man who thought he was above the law found that the rule of law prevails. What mattered more were the facts of the case and the fortitude of 12 very ordinary citizens who bore an extraordinary burden for the rest of us. What mattered most, in the end, was a judge who made the ex-president accountable while displaying impartiality that included his ignoring the bluster and lies that were the hallmark of his defense.

  • It mattered that David Pecker testified and that his testimony told the story about a crooked politician trying to fix an election
  • it mattered that Hope Hicks showed up and answered the prosecution’s questions honestly, if reluctantly because she knew perjury was beyond her pledge of loyalty to her boss
  • it mattered that the women who were closest to him in life abandoned him at his darkest hour because they thought he had it coming
  • and it mattered that a jury of regular folks took the time and waded through the defense team’s weak attempt to normalize behavior so gross and so blatantly illegal and reach a verdict that normalized- at least for the day- a nation.

The former president is a convicted felon. The man who spent more time rebuking the justice system, the judge and jury, the DA and his prosecutors, never once found the time to defend his behavior being contested in court and chose not to testify for fear of making matters worse. The same old overused and hard-to-believe collation of what a jury of regular citizens chosen in part by his own defense team had decided was neither believable nor true:

“This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt.”

The law said differently. It wasn’t even close. If this case could have been rigged, it is clear he would have done it himself. The prosecution team swept the 34 charges against him, not losing a single count. Whatever happens from this point on at the Supreme Court level. or among the “red tie and blue suit” brigade who dared to insert themselves into the case on the side of lawlessness can now reap the whirlwind of their creation as they face voters who can wonder why they hadn’t minded their business which in great measure was the business of their constituents. They should all be running to their local Ace Hardware store, buying the shovels they will dig their graves with tonight as they fight for an appearance on the only outlet fined for their own dishonesty. Their cries will include the well-worn script and include “disgrace”, “rigged”, and other bits of tripe their leader demands:

“The verdict in New York is a complete travesty that makes a mockery of our system of justice,” Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who is a potential vice president pick, posted on the social platform X.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican who is second in line to the presidency, in a statement called the trial “a purely political exercise, not a legal one.” Johnson added: “President Trump will rightfully appeal this absurd verdict-and he WILL WIN!”

The Republican lackeys who support Trump through thick and thicker have a judgment day of their own coming. They demean themselves in ways that are far worse than anything Donald Trump has said to belittle and demean them. The retribution of history may be far off, but the next election cycle is nigh. Any shift in the electorate is likely to be toward the court and the verdict of a jury of 12 men and women who were chosen by lot and vetted by defense lawyers. ‘

It is a curious side issue that those who are now defending Trump and attacking the rule of law were once victims of Trump’s lies and vitriol. Marco Rubio was bashed when After making fun of the convicted felon’s small hands in a particularly vacuous GOP primary debate. He will live with the “Lil Marco” brand for the rest of his political career, meanwhile hoping that his subservience to the MAGA code that requires mental numbness will acquit his previous reputation as a reasonable conservative. He is hoping for a place in the Trump cabinet. Lyin’ Ted Cruz has endured and forgiven what many would agree would have been unforgivable by attacking his wife’s appearance and calling his father a murderer. Ted must be angling for a VP nod given the nastiness of the insults.

In any case, for Donald Trump, the trial verdict was an inevitability even as the rest of us had our doubts. The 34 counts he was found guilty only scratch the surface of his of corruption and he knows it. The upcoming trials, if they occur at all, contain charges that are far worse than those he was convicted of in the Manhattan courtroom of Judge Merchan. His actions on January 6 and the days leading up to it suggest a deeper criminality that when put beside Trump’s behavior in the Florida documents case portrays him as a seditionist and traitor.

If the ex-president is to be believed, only an acquittal would have proved that his trial was fair. The facts, in his eyes, were inconveniently stacked against him. At some time, we should all hope, the truth will win out. But his crimes cannot be isolated and taken separately, they are interrelated. He denies responsibility and takes liberties that imperil our nation. Those in the GOP who support him despite what they know to be true similarly deny their own responsibilities as legislators and citizens and are playing with fire.

Frankly, they all deserve each other. All in all, this was a good day for democracy- a good day for the rule of law. The claims of rigged elections and now rigged juries and trials sound hollow in their repetition and in the face of facts. Tomorrow begins the work of dismantling the myth that Donald Trump is above the law. The verdict is testament to the quote attributed to John Adams that we are a government of laws- not men:

“The law, in all vicissitudes of government…will preserve a steady undeviating course…On the one hand it is inexorable to the cries of the prisoners; on the other it is deaf, deaf as an adder to the clamours of the populace.”

-John Adams in his argument in defence of the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials, 4 December 1770

Originally published at https://www.dailykos.com on May 31, 2024.

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Vince Rizzo

Former president of the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) and a founder of a charter school based on MI theory.