Reasonable doubt for Trump is elusive, even in the post-truth era

by | Jun 5, 2024 | Politics/Government

photo from Indiana Capital Chronicle/Steven Hirsch-Pool/Getty Images

The background noise in my house is the television show, “Law & Order.” My wife and I both read more than we watch TV, so reruns that we aren’t paying much attention to mask the noise from the city streets but don’t distract us. We both have already seen every episode. So, when it’s on, we race to declare, “he’s the one who did it,” or “they needed a search warrant for that.” And after about the first fifteen minutes, it’s only noise.

Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York, that ended with his conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records last week, was just as predictable as any other rerun. No prosecutor, of any political party, in any part of the country, would bring a case to trial that he or she didn’t believe could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Add the complicating factors of this defendant’s unlimited financial resources and media reach, and the original reluctance can be multiplied by a thousand. 

This is primarily why conviction rates are so high. Cases aren’t brought when the prosecution lacks a provable case. Either the government has the goods on the accused, or it doesn’t. It’s too much work, and too publicly embarrassing, to invest all of the time and resources necessary to obtain a conviction when the evidence is weak. Remember, prosecutors are elected in 47 states, and they never run on a platform of losing.

Since Thursday’s conviction, Trump world has gone bonkers in its attempt to try and make the world believe that their man has been mistreated. Don’t confuse their mania with an attempt to show that he is innocent, that is almost never even part of any MAGA rant. In this case, Trump’s defense team didn’t even present a theory of his innocence. The defense was entirely about how Trump’s enemies were liars, and how the process was unfair.

Was it unfair? Hell yes, it was. For example, it is unfair for a defendant to be found in contempt ten times during a trial and never revisit the jail. But the strategy of whining and victimhood is now the go-to mantra of every scrape the former president faces. It’s never “innocence.” 

In every legal proceeding or investigation Trump has faced since he was inaugurated in January of 2017, not once has he behaved as an innocent person. Not once. And now the legal defeats are piled so high, there is only one rational generic conclusion: he’s guilty.

The post-truth era we live in outside of the courtroom is the only place any debate about his criminality and lack of morality continues. Trump’s following has gone all-in on the post-truth thing, not just those in the back rows of his rallies, but the entire Republican party. 

In Indiana, all three presumptive statewide GOP candidates are so wrapped up in Trumpism that they now have no platform of their own. Imagine Mike Braun, Jim Banks or Todd Rokita without Trump. They would all three become mimes in his absence. 

Only Senator Todd Young has broken free from the madness here. 


Imagine what America would have to endure to put Trump back in the White House. Peter Baker succinctly wrote for the New York times on Sunday: “If he wins, it means he will have survived two impeachments, four criminal indictments, civil judgments for sexual abuse and business fraud, and a felony conviction.”

In that horrific list, not a shred of innocence exists.

The irrelevant, unpersuasive noise Trump’s team made in the New York trial should have been replaced with a plea agreement. On Law & Order, this case never gets to trial, not because it was a long shot, but because the evidence was so clear, any other defendant would have pled it out. 

Admitting the obvious is not in Trump’s wheelhouse, and therefore it’s not in his constituency’s either. But juries don’t often struggle with the truth like the MAGA world does. In New York, the truth was clear. 

I was called for jury duty once. The defendant was being charged for possession of a handgun without a license, back when we used to think people needed licenses for killing machines. While I was waiting to be questioned “in the box,” I couldn’t help but wonder why this was going to trial. It’s the kind of crime that really could only have two questions to settle: Did he have the gun? Did he have a license for it? 

Pundits and partisans tried to make the New York case complicated. It wasn’t. None of his other criminal cases are either. 

Donald Trump is a convicted felon, a criminal, and reasonable doubt about it no longer exists. 


  1. Bill Bailey

    You are too woke.
    Welcome to the fraternity. Proud to have you as a member.

  2. Jodi graves

    Truth in all of this
    But it is the now Indiana Trump Party.


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