Sun. May 19th, 2024

Defense lawyers vacillate between honorifics

By 37ci3 Apr24,2024

Many names have been thrown around in the first six days of former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York.

“We’re going to call him ‘President Trump,’ out of respect for his 2017-2021 office,” Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, told jurors during his opening statement Monday. “And as everyone knows, that’s the office he’s running for right now. He’s the Republican nominee.”

“I’d call him Donald,” longtime tabloid publisher David Pecker, who testified in 2015 and 2016 that he conspired with Trump to “catch and kill” stories that could hurt his election efforts, told the court.

Judge Juan Mercan greeted the former president on Tuesday with a standard address for the defendant: “Good morning, Mr. Trump.” It was also a uniform favored by prosecutors.

The what-is-his-name question is just one of the unusual aspects of the former US president’s first criminal trial, but it points to tension points for Trump and his defense team.

There’s a tough balancing act between Blanche’s one audience at the defense table and the audience of 12 in the jury box, and Trump, once the most powerful man in America and now a common defendant.

His world-famous shock of orange-blonde hair, screaming against the dull palette of a wood-paneled courtroom and a dark sea of ​​court-suited lawyers and court officers, prompts his staff to address him as “the president.” This is not unusual for former presidents, whose aides typically use the words “Mr. President” or “President” long after their term ends.

But there are other reasons why Trump’s lawyers call him that. First, his broader legal and public relations strategy for the more consequential federal charges he faces is based on the argument that he is immune from prosecution for his actions as president. A separate team of his lawyers is due to present this argument before the Supreme Court on Thursday.

While New York’s defense team will no doubt want the jury to conclude that Trump is too powerful and not worry about the details of how the aide was paid to silence the porn star, Blanche suggested on Monday that the jury understands the risk. the accused may be alienated if he considers himself superior to his peers appointed to stand trial.

After explaining why she would call Trump “the president” and reminding jurors that he is now the presumptive Republican nominee for the job, Blanche immediately tried to portray her client as a normal guy.

“But — and this is important — he’s not just our former president. He’s not just the Donald Trump you see on TV, read about and see photos of,” Blanche said. “He’s a man too. He’s a husband. He’s a father. He’s a human being just like you and me.”

There is nothing new about a defense attorney dehumanizing his client; it is a key component of any competent criminal defense. Of course, Trump also likes this formula. Despite his frequent use of former first lady Melania Trump and her grown children in all three presidential campaigns, none of his family members have appeared in court with him.

Regardless of what prosecutors or defense attorneys say, jurors will have a hard time looking past the fact that they will be sentencing a former president, a front-runner for the Oval Office and a politician accused of filing false financial statements to hide them. an alleged connection so that he could win the election.

Trump may be the most recognizable person in the world.

Still, the jury must decide whether this Trump is guilty by any other name.

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By 37ci3

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