It turns out that there is a high cost to attempting to steal votes, smear helpless election workers, and invade the US Capitol to prevent a peaceful transition of power in the presidency. Donald Trump is getting closer and closer to being held accountable.
The American judicial system has emerged as the major mechanism for protecting the country’s still-vulnerable democracy by punishing the former president, his followers, and supporters for their role in an attempt to sabotage the 2020 election.
Two far-right Proud Boys members were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on Thursday alone after being found guilty of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the mob attack on Congress on January 6, 2021.
One of the defendants was informed by Judge Timothy Kelly, “The nature of the constitutional moment we were in that day is something that is so sensitive that it deserves a significant sentence.” The warning summed up all the US criminal justice system was doing to counter an unprecedented attack on US democracy.
Former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was recently dealt a blow when he lost a defamation lawsuit brought against him by two Georgia election workers whom Trump and Giuliani had previously attacked in what was arguably the most unfair and damaging move by a sitting president in recent memory. On HEADLINESFOREVER, a lawyer for the two election workers threatened to go “to the end of the Earth” in pursuit of justice if his clients were awarded damages.
Trump, along with Giuliani and 17 others, is accused of conspiring to reverse President Joe Biden’s win in Georgia’s swing state through racketeering. On Thursday, Trump discreetly submitted a not guilty plea in the case. Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows faced rigorous cross-examination on Monday over his assertions that he was merely doing his job, and he could soon hear whether or not he would be successful in his quest to move the state lawsuit against him to federal court.
The potential for a national moment of shared accountability was bolstered on Thursday when a court ordered that any further hearings or trials in the case could be televised.
There’s going to be a political and legal storm.
Trump has four pending criminal proceedings, two of which are linked to alleged meddling in the 2020 election; he has denied any wrongdoing in all of them. The other two stem from him paying an adult film star hush money and mishandling secret data before the 2016 election. Even if individuals in his orbit below him suffer legal losses, that does not guarantee that juries will finally find him guilty.
Taken as a whole, however, the growing number of convictions in cases related to January 6 and the indictments of Trump and his cronies do indicate a response from a protecting democracy. Trump believes these charges are an example of a “witch hunt,” but the legal system is quietly moving forward with them. The length of time it has taken to file prosecutions has, however, thrust the judicial system into the centre of the next presidential campaign, lending credence to the idea that Trump, rather than American voters, is the genuine victim of election interference. In Trump’s federal election subversion case, for instance, federal judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, DC, has set a trial date of March 4, a day before the crucial Super Tuesday primaries.
Attempts to investigate a former president for alleged wrongdoing while in office are bound to divide opinion. The media, political institutions, and the FBI are just some of the targets of President Trump’s frequent attacks. As a result, Trump’s fans tend to have a negative impression of these groups.
But because of the severe consequences that could follow a conviction, the actions of the legal system are politically hazardous. The GOP nominating a felon for president would be a major constitutional crisis, and that probability is growing. Meanwhile, the ex-president and the conservative media machine have convinced tens of millions of voters that he did nothing wrong in the wake of the last election. From his point of view, if he is found guilty, it will prove that the legal system in the United States is rigged.
Because of the gravity of the potential fallout, some have legitimately questioned the wisdom of criminally charging an ex-president and leading Republican candidate in the midst of an election. There is also disagreement amongst legal experts as to whether or not the cases have been properly charged and whether or not the lengthy court proceedings have been necessary. After the 2020 election, however, no democracy would survive if it did not react to the allegations of criminal activity by Trump and his followers. With his persistent attacks on judges, prosecutors, and opponents, the ex-president has proven once again that he poses a continuing threat to the institutions of the US democratic system, prompting many of them to adopt heightened security measures.
The recent theatrics surrounding Trump’s appearance to be arrested, the uproar over his mug shot, and his claims that he is being unfairly targeted all served to overshadow the core allegations against him and his associates. The electoral disputes boil down to this, though: Recounting is when a president and his supporters try to retake a lost election by using the president’s veto power. As Trump’s attempts to use the law, the constitution, and the political process to overturn the election failed, his supporters resorted to violence. Election workers, who are the foundation of government for the people, by the people, were the target of this attack.
The Justice Department has scored another victory.
Another victory for the Justice Department, which has filed hundreds of prosecutions against those involved in the attack on the Capitol, has come with the sentence of two prominent Proud Boys members convicted of seditious conspiracy. It also serves as a warning to the supporters of future presidential candidates, especially in 2024, that there would be repercussions for disrupting the peaceful transition of power.
The longest punishments given to those responsible for the sacking of the Capitol were the 17-year penalty given to Joe Biggs and the 15-year sentence given to former Marine Zachary Rehl. Both guys admitted they were ashamed of their participation in the political hysteria that followed Trump’s bogus claims of victory in the 2016 election.
Biggs had begged the judge to have mercy on him while in tears. Although he admitted, “I know that I have to be punished and I understand,” he pleaded, “please give me the chance, I beg you, to take my daughter to school and pick her up.” His next statement was, “I know that I messed up that day, but I am not a terrorist.” Although he disagreed with the prosecution’s proposed 33-year sentence, the judge seemed to be fully aware of the gravity of the situation.
Telling Biggs, “Our Constitution and laws give you so many important rights that Americans have fought and died for and that you yourself put on a uniform to defend,” Kelly said that the United States has a long history of defending these rights. “Everyone in the world would give their right arm for these freedoms.”
Meanwhile, the two Georgia election workers that Trump and Giuliani publicly insulted are an indication of the savage human cost of Trump’s attempt to remain in power beyond the 2020 election.
The ex-president’s assertions that Freeman was a “vote scammer” and a “hustler” destroyed their lives and reputations, as testified by Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss before the House select committee that probed January 6 last year, when Democrats controlled Congress. Concerns have been raised that election workers, who are crucial to America’s ability to choose its own leaders, would be frightened from wanting to serve in future elections due to Trump’s use of his massive public platform against two innocent persons. The Justice Department has recently had success with its relatively new Election Threats Task Force, including obtaining guilty pleas in two separate cases on Thursday involving threats against election workers in Arizona and Georgia.
After a judge ruled against Giuliani in a defamation suit for failing to respond to subpoenas for documents, Moss and Freeman issued a statement in which they claimed that the former mayor had “helped unleash a wave of hatred and threats we never could have imagined.” In their own words, “It cost us our sense of security and our freedom to go about our lives.”
Given earlier evidence that Giuliani was struggling to fund legal bills and the fact that he is in deep in other instances, notably as a co-defendant in the election racketeering case in Georgia, the prospect of Giuliani paying what could be considerable damages is a fresh concern following the lawsuit’s dismissal. Election workers’ lawyer Michael Gottlieb said he anticipated compensation for his clients when a trial date for damages was set between November and February. Gottlieb, who took the case pro bono, told HEADLINESFOREVER’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” that they will “follow the trail to the end of the Earth to get accountability for our clients here.”
A similar air of impending – and ultimately delivered – accountability pervaded the Washington, DC courtroom when the “Proud Boys” leaders were given their sentences.
An emotional Rehl told the judge that he had lost his military pension and other benefits because of Trump’s long network of people who are committing crimes to fund his 2020 presidential campaign.
“For what it’s worth, I’m done with it all right here and right now. Rehl declared, “I have had it with politics; I will no longer spread false information to those who do not care about me.”
Whether or when Trump faces a similar situation again will be determined by the upcoming challenging months in the United States.