For God’s Sake, Give Trump a Plea Deal



MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“


Ted Rall

Ted Rall



Sputnik International


MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“

Sputnik International


MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“

donald trump’s indictment, plea deal, donald trump, gerald ford, joe biden, georgia, new york, manhattan, democrats, republicans, mar-a-lago, classified documents

donald trump’s indictment, plea deal, donald trump, gerald ford, joe biden, georgia, new york, manhattan, democrats, republicans, mar-a-lago, classified documents

No one is above the law. But indicting the frontrunner for a major political party’s presidential nomination – a former president to boot – on charges with a maximum sentence of 400 years in federal prison sets the stage for a full-blown constitutional crisis.

Is there some way to hold Donald Trump accountable for playing fast and loose with state and federal law, without forcing him to campaign while on trial or asking voters to head to the polls while the de facto leader of the Republican Party rots behind bars?

Consider how crazy this could get. Would Club Fed pipe in wifi for the debates? Can an inaugural ceremony be held in the visiting room? Who takes that 3 a.m. crisis phone call when the felon-in-chief is sitting in stir?

Biden and the Democrats fantasize about putting Trump in prison. If they calm down and think about it even for a moment, however, they should be able to see how badly doing this now, during an election, would inflame our highly combustible politics.

Three prosecutors, all Democrats, all working for Democratic administrations with the support of Democratic-leaning corporate media organizations, are seen as waging nuclear lawfare to deny 70 million-plus Republican voters the right to support the presidential candidate and party of their choice.

I don’t know how this ends. Civil war? Random political violence? Polarization like you’ve never even dreamed of? Whatever happens, I guarantee it won’t be good.

There is a way out: Offer Trump a plea deal.

At this writing, here is the legal lay of the land. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records, some related to paying hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Legal experts think Bragg has a better-than-even chance to nail Trump in court, despite the novel construction of his case.
Police tape is wrapped around a palm tree outside the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Courthouse, Monday, June 12, 2023, in Miami, Fla. Former President Donald Trump is set to appear at the federal court Tuesday, on dozens of felony charges accusing him of illegally hoarding classified information. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.06.2023

Trump Pleads Not Guilty to 37 Charges in Classified Docs Indictment
Now, Trump faces 37 counts for mishandling classified documents in federal court in Miami; his odds of walking away free are still worse there.
Soon, in early August, Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis may join Indictment-a-palooza with her own set of felony charges – that Trump tried to interfere with the 2020 election.
Trump is famous for ignoring his lawyers’ advice. But he’s never before faced odds this long or downsides this steep. If a plea deal is offered, his legal team will be screaming at him to take it.

Assuming the former president is wise enough to listen—or listen to his second and third set of attorneys after he fires his first ones, for they too will be shouting at him to make a deal—the terms of a plea arrangement will have to satisfy the courts (i.e., Democrats) without enraging Team MAGA.

Charging parties in Georgia, New York and the Department of Justice would need to agree on a set of conditions that would ensure Trump was covered by any and all claims likely to be filed before the November 2024 election.

Now for the terms: No prison.

By all means, disrespect Trump the man. Trump the former president and Trump the major-party candidate, however, represent the aspirations of tens of millions of Americans who felt unheard and unseen before he rode down the Trump Tower elevator in 2015.

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Washington, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, listens. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.06.2023

Recording of Trump Discussing Classified Docs Was Part of Feud Over Iran With Top General

If you humiliate this man—trials, convictions, handcuffs, chains, jumpsuit—his supporters will feel his shame as their own. Furthermore, it would be impossible to overstate the international scorn and disdain that would be heaped upon the US after a sordid spectacle better suited to an ‘s-hole’ country in the developing world. We have a two-party system. If you hobble one candidate, tie him up in court and/or jail him, you no longer have the pretense of a democracy—you’ve created a one-party system. Biden will become America’s Saddam.

Who would ever listen to another pompous declamation about American exceptionalism?

For decades I was angry at Gerald Ford for pardoning Nixon because it sent the message that presidents are above the law. I was wrong. I have since come to appreciate Ford’s calm, common-sense Midwestern wisdom. Ford understood America needed to move on, that to do otherwise would have meant we would have been talking about Nixon for the rest of the 1970s and beyond—the way we can’t stop obsessing over Trump now.

Hard as it is to accept that Trump should walk free on so many charges, charges that his own administration pursued against far nobler people who went to prison as a result, if you want to salvage the republic, Trump must be spared prison.
Federal prosecutors sometimes require that a politician drop out of politics as part of a plea deal. In 1982, for example, a Congressman from New York agreed to resign his seat in Congress, stay out of politics and to plead guilty to federal tax, narcotics and conflict-of-interest. Plea bargains filed by state DAs forced out the governors of Alabama in 2017 and Missouri in 2018.

Trump’s ability to campaign and potentially regain the presidency in a fair election is essential to assure Republicans that they have not been victimized by a weaponized government. Democrats and ‘Never Trump’ Republicans will find this tough to digest. Surely a man who incited the January 6th Capitol riot doesn’t deserve to be president. But democracy requires at least two candidates, neither behind bars or banned from participating.

Former US President and 2024 Presidential hopeful Donald Trump gestures as he leaves after speaking at the North Carolina Republican Party Convention in Greensboro, North Carolina, on June 10, 2023 - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.06.2023

Trump Could Turn Latest ‘Bizarre’ Bid to Jail Him to His Advantage

If not prison or proscription, what? Fines. Big fines.

Forbes estimates Trump’s net worth at $2.5 billion. Let the two states and the federal government split $2 billion, payable within a year of settlement. If he defaults, clap him in cuffs and frog-march him out of his hidey-hole, whether it’s Mar-a-Lago or the White House.

For a man who values money more than anything else, taking a financial haircut would represent real accountability. His agreement to pay a significant public settlement would serve as tacit acknowledgement of his guilt. No amount of grandstanding at his rallies would convince anyone of his innocence.

For God’s sake, offer Trump a deal before it’s too late.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, co-hosts the left-vs-right DMZ America podcast with fellow cartoonist Scott Stantis. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

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