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Defense Rests in Trump Trial – But Media Works Overtime

The arguments are over, all that’s left is the spin.

In the New York City criminal trial against former President Donald Trump, the defense team has rested its case and now awaits Judge Juan Merchan’s instructions to the jury. While the scope of these instructions could limit what jurors are expected to consider in their deliberations, the nation’s media is under no such restriction. Unsurprisingly, the anti-Trump Fourth Estate is attempting to convict the 45th president in the court of public opinion regardless of the ultimate outcome.

What Are We Waiting For?

The court is scheduled to reconvene after Memorial Day Weekend, May 28, when lawyers for the prosecution and defense will make their closing arguments. Shortly after, the jury will receive its instructions and decide Trump’s fate. The jurors will have to determine whether business records were falsified by the defendant and, more importantly, whether this was done in furtherance of another crime – in this case, to impact the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Would-be prognosticators in media outlets around the country appear to have already reached their decision and are joyously engaged in explaining why the once and potentially future president is, indeed, guilty. And yet, despite such confidence, authors and journalists are caught up in a pearl-clutching crisis of the heart over whether all 12 jurors will deliver.

Loaded Language

One might expect any criminal trial to be treated with a certain amount of reserve before a verdict is delivered; after all, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But when the defendant is Donald Trump, it seems such decorum is a wasted resource.

CNN breathlessly described Trump’s out-of-court behavior as both bizarre and beyond the pale:

“[Trump] mounted a daily campaign to destroy the reputation of the court and Judge Juan Merchan, as well as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg…

“Trump’s bizarre practice of reading aloud critiques of the case from his allies in conservative media was all designed to create an atmosphere of grievance around the trial, which he’s leveraged to bolster the core rationale of his White House campaign — that he’s a persecuted victim of weaponized justice.”

In two short paragraphs, the outlet painted the defendant as both vindictive and narcissistic while ignoring the fact that reading these media critiques aloud was the only way Trump could make his own case to the public without violating Judge Merchan’s gag order.

New banner Viewpoint with eyeThe San Francisco Chronicle began an opinion piece: “Some … believe a conviction and jail sentence could prevent Trump from retaking the presidency if he wins next year’s election. If only wishing made it so.” The article then laments that all 12 jury members must “agree that a defendant is not only guilty but guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Describing such unanimity as a “loophole,” the author weighs the odds of conviction, saying, “The likelihood, in any trial, that Trump can’t nab a single holdout juror — even in the face of obvious guilt — is extremely low.”

Trump Must Be Guilty of Something!

While a number of media sources have examined the merits of DA Alvin Bragg’s case, the overall tone in reporting has been supportive but pessimistic. There is an almost unanimous belief across the Fourth Estate that Donald Trump engaged in criminal activity related to the misfiling of paperwork, but it is a conviction that appears to lack confidence. Not confidence that Trump is guilty, however, but rather that the prosecution has not provided enough evidence.

Whatever the New York jury eventually decides, the US media has determined Trump’s guilt – if not for these particular accusations, then at the very least, for the crime of being Donald Trump. For the former president, however, the jury pool on that charge is far wider and will deliver its decision at the ballot box in November.

Read More From Mark Angelides

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