Geschrieben am 2. Mai 2023 von für Crimemag, CrimeMag Mai 2023

Thomas Adcock: „This way to the courtroom, Sir…“


‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’

by Thomas Adcock

Copyright © 2023 – Thomas Adcock

NEW YORK CITY, near America

On the Tuesday afternoon of April 4, a penultimate chapter in the squalid biography of a Florida flimflammer and credibly accused rapist was written in a courtroom of New York City, birthplace of the man known in proceedings against him as Criminal Defendant #4913961R.

 What happened that fine spring day was a promise of social redress quite beyond one man’s well deserved comeuppance. There is now a palpable feeling among the good people of the United States, even the despairing among us who never thought we’d see such a wonderful day as April 4, that one of the most shamefully corrupt eras of modern American history is now surely fading before our eyes, in concert with an ancient idiom: “The fish rots from the head down.”

For the first time in his seventy-six years of life, the nation’s most wanted miscreant was made to face Lady Justice, figuratively and literally as we shall see. Further, his rabble of enablers and allies—pinstriped corporatists, tattooed thugs, conspiracists, Christianist bullies, bigots and gun-toting louts—will soon face, or are facing the same.

The eventful month of April 2023 had only just begun.

Each day, the whole world watched a morality play upon the American stage. With bated breath, we now await a final curtain.

The afternoon of April 4 was comfortably cool. Red and yellow tulips sprouted in streetside planter boxes, dogwood trees blossomed in fragrant pink and white, sunshine warmed our faces, sweet zephyrs cleansed the air…

…and a thunderstorm of felony indictments, thirty-four in all, rained down upon a decades-long swindler at last brought low.

We had waited nearly six years for such a Tuesday. Historians marked their calendars. Publishers cleared their booklist schedules for a torrent of tomes in the offing.  

Finally, the American people had confidence that prosecutors would follow the lead of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and likewise dare to do their jobs. We had confidence that increasingly serious criminal charges would be lodged against the fish head himself, followed by the rest of the rot.

The chastened man of the hour was, of course, Donald John Trump. He was a picture of impotent defiance as two burly police officers, having just placed him under arrest, led him to the judicial bench. Seconds later, he was a picture of sullen deference, slumped in his chair at the defense table.

Television news coverage made clear the downbeat body language. What we saw is what we got: karma. In a most telling video scene, Donald Trump’s police escort allowed the entrance door to the courtroom to fall shut in the former president’s face.    

Over the following days and weeks, the newspapers reminded us of sleazy particulars underlying indictments against a roué who contaminated the White House from 2017 to 2021—

• As Election Day loomed in November 2016, Mr. Trump’s consigliere for creepy personal matters slipped $130,000 (€117,000) to Stormy Daniels, leading lady of pornographic films and reportedly Mr. Trump’s paramour at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas.

• Presidential candidate Donald Trump needed Ms. Daniels to keep her mouth shut, word-wise. If she blabbed about their assignations—which she eventually did, describing the Trump penis as “smaller than average [with] a huge mushroom head, like a toadstool”—it could offend a substantial number of voters. Those who might be repulsed by the alleged cavortings in Las Vegas having occurred while Mrs. Melania Trump, a former nude model and tabloid gossip sensation, was back home in New York tending to Trumps’ newborn son.

According to District Attorney Bragg, hush money funneled to a porn star was therefore intended to benefit Mr. Trump’s electoral chances in 2016, though it was disguised as a “business” expense. Per the opening text of Mr. Bragg’s indictment menu, “The People of the State of New York allege that Donald J. Trump repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal crimes that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.”

On April 4, Mr. Trump pleaded not guilty to thirty-four criminal charges rooted in his dalliance with Stormy Daniels, whom the former president refers to as “Horse Face.” Strictly by the book, Donald Trump could be locked up in a New York state penitentiary for one hundred and thirty-six years if convicted on each charge, this being as unlikely as it is pleasant to contemplate.

The next hearing in the case is set for December 4, with the trial itself expected to open in January 2024—at a time when Mr. Trump’s third campaign for the presidency will be in full swing. Unless the effort dies on the legal battlefield in which he finds himself nowadays.  

—NOTE: Ms. Daniels is not the only damsel to have serviced the Trumpian penchant for prurience. There is the matter of one Karen McDougal, high school cheerleader-cum-centerfold for a prominent lad magazine.

An aspiring journalist, Ms. McDougal’s account of pre-presidential trysts with the married Donald Trump was quashed with $150,000 (€135,000) worth of hush money paid by Trump acolyte David Pecker, publisher of the lurid National Enquirer. Two years ago, the Federal Election Commission ruled that payment amounted to an illegal contribution to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and fined the Enquirer’s parent company $187,500 (€168,750).

To date, Mr. Trump denies carnal knowledge of the former cheerleader.   

Nineteen days after Criminal Defendant #4913961R made initial appearance relating to criminal charges in Manhattan State Supreme Court, trial began in another courtroom just down the street on yet another unpleasant Tuesday afternoon for Donald Trump.

On that second Tuesday, this one falling on April 25, an anonymous panel of jurors was selected for a long-awaited civil trial in the Manhattan-based U.S. District Court.

Jurors’ names were kept secret from all parties—plaintiff and her counsel, the defendant Trump and his lawyers, media, courtroom personnel, and Judge Lewis A. Kaplan himself. Over the history of legal actions against Donald Trump, those involved who displease him have received death threats.

The April 25 action was brought by the New York writer and former magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll under terms of a newly enacted state law that provides a one-year window within which victims of sexual violence may file legal claims of abuse long in the past; victims either frightened, shamed, or intimidated into remaining silent.

Now 79 years old, an occasionally weepy Ms. Carroll was nevertheless poised as she took the stand on opening day to tell the sordid story of a 1996 encounter with Donald Trump at Manhattan’s posh Bergdorf Goodman department store. The story was earlier reported in a June 2019 magazine excerpt from her book, “What Do We Need Men For?”

First question from Ms. Carroll’s attorney: “Why are you here today?”

“I am here because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen,” answered Ms. Carroll, who seeks unspecified financial recompense and a formal apology. “He lied and shattered my reputation, and I am here to try to get my life back.”

Details of her day-long testimony centered around Ms. Carroll’s bumping into Mr. Trump at the store, and how Mr. Trump, then a celebrity real estate tycoon, asked her advice in purchasing a gift—specifically, a lingerie bodysuit. Thinking that helping him decide about the garment could make for amusing column material, Ms. Carroll obliged. Whereupon, the hefty tycoon allegedly shoved the diminutive columnist into a changing room.

According to reportage in the New York Times—     

“Once they were inside…Mr. Trump used his weight to hold her against the wall, then pulled down her tights. Ms. Carroll grew emotional as she testified. ‘I was pushing him back,’ she said. ‘I was almost too frightened to think if I was afraid or not.’

“His fingers went into my vagina, which was extremely painful,’ Ms. Carroll testified. Then, she said, he inserted his penis. She testified that she had not had sex since.

“After the attack, Ms. Carroll said, she fled Bergdorf’s onto Fifth Avenue in a state of shock. She said she blamed herself afterward, saying her decision [to help Mr. Trump] was ‘very stupid.’”

Not required to be present at the federal trial, Mr. Trump declined to attend; in fact, he busied himself that day at a campaign event in the state of New Hampshire. His absence inside the courtroom did not prevent him from criticizing the trial from the outside. Via social media, Mr. Trump declared the proceedings a “hoax” and a “witch hunt,” his go-to descriptives for vexing reality.

Earlier, he told a Washington reporter that he couldn’t have raped Ms. Carroll because, “She’s not my type.”

Judge Kaplan interrupted the trial at once point for a private word with Mr. Trump’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina. The judge suggested that Mr. Tacopina tell his client to gear down on juvenile sentiment. Otherwise, hizzoner intimated, he might charge the ex-president with contempt of court or obstruction of justice. Mr. Tacopina opted to heed the suggestion.

—NOTE: In pre-trial motions, Ms. Carroll’s lawyers asked that Mr. Trump provide a DNA sample to compare with sperm from an unidentified male discovered on the tights worn by Ms. Carroll during the alleged rape. If the respective DNA samples failed to match, it would prove Mr. Trump innocent; he declined to provide DNA.

The momentous month of April moved forward with ever more disastrous consequence for the fascist movement previously known as the Republican Party.

On the 26th of April in Washington, a federal jury began deliberations to decide the fate of Enrique Tarrio, Führer of the Trump-aligned white nationalist paramilitary organization called “Proud Boys.” Along with several of his Untergebene, Mr. Tarrio was charged with seditious conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. electoral process, presumably in response to Mr. Trump’s notorious call for their help.

In the run-up to the presidential election in November 2020, Mr. Trump called on the Tarrio organization to become street muscle as needed. During a televised campaign debate, the then-president issued his directive: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”

As evidence against Mr. Tarrio et alia, the government produced a nine-page document confiscated from the Proud Boys. In a section of the document titled “Storm the Winter Palace” were detailed plans for laying siege to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the constitutionally prescribed date for certifying the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr. as forty-seventh president of the United States. Another section contained a litany of Proud Boy intentions, including “Liberty or Death!” and “No Trump, No America!”

Each man in the Tarrio gang, most of whom pleaded guilty as charged, face up to twenty years’ imprisonment.

To date, more than a thousand January 6 insurrectionists have been convicted on a range of charges, ranging from criminal trespass to sedition. What remains is a waiting game: When will Donald Trump be charged?

As I write, two federal probes targeting the ex-president are well underway, either one of which could in theory result in locking him up:

• Mr. Trump is accused of moving top secret documents from the White House to his Florida villa at Mar-a-Lago, in violation of the U.S. Espionage Act.

•  Jack Smith, special counsel appointed by the U.S. Justice Department who made his mark in the legal universe by prosecuting criminal racketeers, is set to bring charges against Mr. Trump for his conduct during the waning days of his presidency in allegedly inspiring a mob of admiring thugs to attempt the deadly coup d’état of January 6, 2021.

On April 27, Mr. Smith subpoenaed ex-Vice President Mike Pence for sworn affidavits as to his direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s alleged part in the failed coup d’état.

Further on Mr. Trump’s plate, he must defend against state prosecution efforts underway in New York and Georgia—

• Letitia James, attorney general of New York State, has filed a $250 million (€225 million) civil lawsuit accusing that Mr. Trump’s corporate entity of operating a years-long scheme of “staggering” bank and insurance fraud. Trial is scheduled to open in Manhattan on October 3. Should Mr. Trump be convicted, his company would forever be banned from doing business anywhere in New York.

• Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis announced on April 26  that she is likely to file criminal indictments against Mr. Trump this summer for his alleged efforts to Georgia ballots that redounded to the victorious Joe Biden. She has postponed the indictments to allow time for law enforcement authorities in Atlanta to prepare for anticipated violence.

And so it would seem that Donald Trump and his cult of loyalists, those not yet behind bars, will soon see long days in the dock for their rôles as swimmers in the ocean of corruption and crime that was the Trump regime. Like the man to whom they gave allegiance, loyalists too lie awake at night contemplating their imminent disposals.        

For as it is said in Matthew 13:47, “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea, and gathered some fish of every kind, which when it was filled, they drew up on the beach. They sat down and gathered the good into containers, but the bad they threw away. So will it be at the end of the age.”

In 1963, the “king of soul” Sam Cooke (1931-1964) wrote the last and most prophetic of his many songs, “A Change is Gonna Come.” The opening lyrics speak to a political earthquake that broke in Tennessee back on April 6:

I was born by the river
In a little tent
Oh, and just like the river, I’ve been running
Ever since.
It’s been a long…
A long time coming, but I know
A change gon’ come
Oh yes, it will

On that day in Tennessee, a ruling majority of state legislators exposed, as seldom before, the fundaments of Mr. Trump’s Republican Party: white racism and gun fetishism.

While in session at the capital in Nashville, the Republican bloc voted to expel three of their Democratic Party colleagues for the sin of speaking indecorously out of turn.

In light of the recent slaughter of three 9-year-old children and three staff members at a school right there in Nashville, the Democrat trio led a gallery of citizen onlookers, many of them teachers from around the state, in loud demands that Republicans DO SOMETHING (!) to address fatal facts:

• Known to have severe mental problems, a 28-year-old killer named Audrey Hale was able to easily and legally purchase seven firearms at local shops in the months prior to his March 27 rampage at Covenant Christian School. He used three of those weapons—an AR-15 modified machine gun, a 9-millimeter Kal-Tec carbine pistol, and a 9-millimeter Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handgun—to unload one hundred and fifty-two rounds of bullets.

• Within minutes of their arrival at Covenant, police shot and killed Mr. Hale, after which they searched his room at the house he shared with his parents. In addition to the four other recently purchased weapons, police discovered two sawed-off shotguns. Informed of the contents in Mr. Hale’s bedroom armory, his parents told police, “We don’t think he should have had [guns].”

Ousted from the Tennessee legislature for loud and uppity conduct unbecoming were two state representatives—one African American male, a second male of mixed Filipino and African heritage. Each man is in his late 20s, each carries the given name Justin, each is a righteously angry man ready and willing for necessary trouble.

The Republicans declined to eject the young men’s equally vocal ally—Gloria Johnson, a 60-year-old white woman who retired after teaching at Central High School in Knoxville, where she is forever scarred by assisting terrified boys and girls as they fled from the schoolhouse after one 15-year-old student whipped out a semiautomatic pistol from his backpack to shoot and kill another 15-year-old.

Overnight, the “Tennessee Three,” as media dubbed them, became stars of a growing multi-generational, multi-racial front of activists bent on accomplishing what Republicans and the armaments manufacturers who own them have thus far prevented: forcing lawmakers to DO SOMETHING (!) about the fact that America is the only country on Earth where guns outnumber the people, where mass shootings occur on a weekly basis.

The Tennessee Three were summoned to the White House, where President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris congratulated them on behalf of a nation sickened by gun mania. They then made the rounds of network television news programs, sticking to the work of forcing legislative action — someday.

Especially effective on television were the two Justins. They possess oratorical command reminiscent of a prior generation of American prophets—Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) and Malcolm X (1925-1965), both assassinated for speaking out of turn, one could say, and Congressman John Lewis (1940-2020), an icon of the 1960s civil rights crusade and advocate of “good trouble” as a hope-against-hope vehicle for societal progress.

There is something in the faces of Justin Jones and Justin Pearson that tell us they understand the quiet pain behind mournful lyrics to “Redemption Song,” the 1980 ballad written and sung by Jamaican raggae master Bob Marley (1945-1981) in the months before cancer ended his opposition to injustice through music—

How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?
…Some say it’s just a part of it,
We’ve got to fulfill the book

Something in the purposeful faces of these young men from Tennessee assures us that they will grow old after an honorable lifetime of righting the ship of state, beginning with seeing to effective gun laws.

To that end, they are already back to work at the Nashville statehouse. Within two days of their ouster, unanimous and bipartisan insistence on the part of their respective county commissions returned them to office. Again, the television cameras reported a story that required no words: Red-faced Republicans, whose skin was normally as white as a field of lilys, could not look either young black colleague in the eye; the eyes of men whose forebears knew slave times in Tennessee.

Their name is Justin, derived from the biblical Justus, patron saint of Trieste, Italy whose name means “just” and “fair.”

Back now to New York, headquarters of Donald Trump’s Republican Party propaganda organ, known as Fox Television “News”—and the strangely anti-climactic end of yet another godawful month in Rupert Murdoch’s annus horribilis, as both a lonesome old man and an international press baron whose holdings include Fox.  

April 18 was opening day for a civil trial in which Dominion Voting Systems of Denver, Colorado accused Fox News of defamation by knowingly reporting false claims that the company had cheated Donald Trump out of reëlection in 2020 by rigging its voting machines in favor of Joe Biden.

The false claim at issue was the Big Lie promoted by Mr. Trump, à la Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), and parroted by his cult of kooks and conspiracists paraded through the roster of Fox News programs.  

Barely had the trial commenced when the judge announced that opposing litigants had reached a financial settlement of $787.5 million (€708.75 million), a record-smashing sum in the annals of defamation lawsuits. Immediately, critical observers noted that a quashed trial meant that no embarrassing testimony would come to light—program hosts at Fox circulated private emails as to how they loathed the lying kooks they interviewed, purely for their entertainment value—and that under terms of settlement Fox was not clearly held to account as a vessel for untruths.

Dominion’s lead counsel, Stephen Shackelford, countered the critics. “Money is accountability,” he said, adding that his client would subsequently file individual defamation suits against the Fox News hosts—Republicans all, beginning with the most racist, most misogynistic, most viewer ratings-high host of the bunch: Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson, scion of a wealthy rightwing San Francisco family whose reported annual compensation at Fox had reached $20 million (€18 million).

With Mr. Carlson’s head selected to roll—mainly due to his habit of calling a female executive at Fox a “cunt” and other crude remarks, such as his characterization of Iraqis as “semi-literate primitive monkeys”—the egotistical “Tuckums” was unceremoniously axed on the Monday morning of April 24, offering not a squeak of protest for public consumption.

By week’s end, many of us in New York and elsewhere had clean forgotten Tuckums‘ last name.

Saint Justus had called on Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson .

As for the past twelve months in the life of 92-year-old Rupert Murdoch, things could hardly have gone worse.

The man who almost single-handedly created Donald Trump as a golden boy of modern fascism was badly bruised in a pair of major business propositions that bombed: his attempt to reunite under a single entity Fox News in New York and News Corporation in London, and his failure to make it as a broker of international property listing websites.

Following those humiliations, Mr. Murdoch got married, only to see that transaction quickly fall apart, costing him plenty.

Then he got engaged to marry a whole new expensive lady. Within weeks of his accepted proposal, Mr. Murdoch reneged, deciding that wedding bells was not his best idea.

And now comes a whole new defamation suit against Fox, seeking double the record-smashing Dominion financial settlement. In this case, the voting technology firm Smartmatic seeks damages to its corporate reputation in the amount of $2.7 billion (€2.43 billion).

Saint Justus has come calling on “The Rupe.”

Do you hear it?

Do you hear the rousing anthem from “Les Misérables,” as written by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel for stage and movie production (lyrics translated from French to English by Herbert Kretzmer)?

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of the people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

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