Tag Archives: trial

The Retrial of Benjamin Forsythe

Benjamin Forsythe wants a new trial.

In 2017 he was accused, and later convicted, of shoplifting. The prosecution claims he had hidden some dog toys … yes, DOG TOYS … in his girlfriend’s purse. Then they left the store without paying.

Well, they did have SOME evidence against him, to be sure. They never actually found the toys in his girlfriend’s purse. BUT. They had a video of him going to the car and bringing his girlfriend’s purse into the store. They had some empty dog toy shelves. Stuff like that.

To be clear, they didn’t catch him in the act. It was only a day later when some store employers noticed some empty packaging in the dog toy department that they investigated. Sure enough, the Sherlock-type sleuths discovered that his girlfriend had absconded with $ 186 worth of dog toys!

Some of you who do not own pets may wonder how anyone could stuff $186 worth of dog toys into a purse unnoticed. I mean, that sounds like a lot of Fido fun. Loads of doggy diversions. Now, those of you WITH pets might have a different view. I mean, where can you get a purse load of dog toys for ONLY $186? Must have been in the discount bin. Give me the address of that store. But I digress.

So, despite his pleas of innocence (his girlfriend took complete responsibility, the sweet thing) he was convicted and sentenced. To 2 to 23 months in jail. For pilfering dog toys. Well, I said he was convicted of shoplifting, but not exactly. Since he, himself, never stole any dog toys he was actually convicted of  “conspiracy to commit retail theft”. YIKES. That’s sounds a lot worse than shoplifting. A conspiracy.

So poor Benjamin was convicted. But that was then. This is now.

After watching hours and hours of the impeachment trial of Donald Trump from his prison cell, Benjamin had second thoughts. The first thought was this. Being  forced to watch hours and hours of the impeachment trial may be grounds for release on a  “cruel and unusual punishment” claim.

Second, he wanted a new trial with Lamar Alexander as foreman of the jury.

You see, Lamar Alexander has stated, in writing,  publicly that  “yes”, the House managers did present a convincing case. In fact, according to Lamar, he is convinced that president Trump DID solicit (extort)  the Ukrainian government to try to force them to present an announcement of an investigation into the Bidens. He had seen enough, but it was not enough to convict.

So Senator Alexander does not need any more proof. Trump is a criminal. The facts are clear. Undisputed.  But, since Trump is a criminal Lamar has decided NOT to vote to remove him from office. Or to seek any more evidence which might even further prove the case already proven by the House managers. Because, after all, if we convicted criminals what would be next? Slippery slope.

Lamar’s statement: “…There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine. There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.’ There is no need to consider further the frivolous second article of impeachment that would remove the president for asserting his constitutional prerogative to protect confidential conversations with his close advisers. 

“It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation. When elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations, it undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate….”

When Benjamin saw this he leaped for joy. That is exactly the point he was trying to make. Just because he was found to have committed a crime does not mean he should be found GUILTY of committing a crime. Just because he was involved in a conspiracy, and that was proven by the prosecution, does not justify a GUILTY verdict. It was not really a crime, it was just “inappropriate” for him to conspire to shoplift. And, if we are to uphold what Senator Alexander calls “the principle of equal justice under the law” shouldn’t Benjamin go free?

Benjamin wants Senator Alexander on his jury. And Dershowitz as his lawyer. Mr Forsythe is hoping to call Donald Trump, Jr as his character witness. If he can afford the fee.

There is a new sheriff in town. His name is Lamar. His concept of the law:   Some crimes are just not punishable. It all depends on who commits them.

https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/03/shoplifter-jailed-for-stealing-dog-toys-denied-break-by-pa-court.html

READ Lamar Alexander’s Statement: Trump Did It, He Said He Did It on TV, but Removing Him Would Be ‘Frivolous’

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Filed under Constitution, crime, Elections, Foreign policy, GOP, government, impeachment, Politics, president, Republicans, slippery slope, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

The “Obvious” Defense

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump started last week. The House managers presented a very thorough case. Now it is the time for the defenders of the president to speak. Fair enough.

So, what should they say? Well, let’s look at what the House has presented  and see how they can respond.

The House case focuses first on the withholding of aid to Ukraine and the withholding of a meeting in the Oval Office with the president of the Ukraine. Both are important to the Ukraine for what should be obvious reasons. Ukraine is partially occupied and is at war with Putin’s Russia. Not to belabor the point but again. Ukraine is partially occupied and at war with Putin’s Russia.

So, the Ukraine desperately needs military help. Which the Congress and the president have given them.They also just as desperately need Putin to understand that the US stands with Ukraine against his illegal occupation and aggression. So, both the military and political aid are essential.

It is a fact that the Department of Defense was ready to start to distribute the military aid to  Ukraine on June 18, 2019. From the DOD website:

The Department of Defense announced today plans to provide $250 million to Ukraine in security cooperation funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to build the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces.” ……https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/1879340/dod-announces-250m-to-ukraine/

The DOD does not release any military aid unless a thorough review has been done to make sure the country is meeting the requirements for fighting corruption, insuring human rights, etc.

So, for the president’s Defense Team. The first point they need to address is why the military aid was withheld. What information came to light between June 18 and the hold on the aid? There may be legitimate reasons for withholding aid, if so, what were they? And why was the very process for withholding aid taken out of the usual channels and handed over to a political appointee, rather than a career official?

Along the same lines, the defense may argue that the president can unilaterally withhold aid for any reason. In fact, the aid was held up 9 different times, with no explanation. However, the Government Accounting Office relayed a decision that what Trump did was break the  law. A law that requires him to notify Congress with reasons for any hold up in aid:

“In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from
obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security
assistance to Ukraine. In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine
apportionment schedules with footnotes that made all unobligated balances
unavailable for obligation.
Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own
policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds
for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA).
The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB
violated the ICA….”

https://www.gao.gov/assets/710/703909.pdf

So, the president or his staff broke the law. Period. His defense team needs to explain that and justify the hold on military aid. Why did the president think it was essential to break the law? Perhaps he had good reason.Legal reasons. What were they? And why was Congress never notified?

Furthermore, since aid was eventually released they need to answer another question. What happened to make the president change his mind and lift the hold? What new evidence emerged? Did he discover it was illegal or was there a change in Ukraine? What specific reason was there for all of a sudden releasing most of the aid?

The second charge on impeachment brought by the House managers was the obstruction of Congress. Now, it is pretty obvious that Congress was obstructed since the president refused to provide and documents or witnesses to help in the investigation. The question is, was that obstruction legal?

On Saturday the president’s team argued that the entire impeachment proceeding was illegal. So, since the proceeding was illegal they had no requirement to cooperate. Of course, this argument does have a major hole.

The position presupposes that the executive branch alone can decide for the House of Representatives what it can and cannot investigate. In other words, although the Constitution gives the sole power of impeachment to the House, the executive branch can overrule that power. The position falls flat on two levels. First, it disregards the specific language of the Constitution.

Article 1, Section 2: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Of course it makes no sense legally or logically for the object of an impeachment or investigation to have the power to end an impeachment or investigation.

Along the same lines the president’s defense claimed that the House violated their own rules, so therefore the very impeachment itself is illegal. Yet, here we are. The Senate, controlled by Mitch McConnell, recognized the legality of impeachment. The Supreme Court, along with Chief Justice Roberts, recognizes the legality of the impeachment. We are having a trial precisely because the House acted legally. So, once again we have the president, alone, making claims that no other branch of government agrees with.

Now, it is legal for the president to, in certain circumstances, invoke “executive privilege”. However, invoking that privilege means the president has to make a case, before a court, that the documents or testimony being withheld is being done for legitimate national security concerns. So far, Mr Trump has made no such claim.

His lawyers, however, have taken the position that he can claim executive privilege without making a formal claim of executive privilege. In their words, he can hide anything he wants for any reason he wants. In other words, the chief executive is supreme and cannot be investigated or impeached.  Trump has taken this position publicly:

“…Trump was giving a speech at a Turning Point USA conference, where he predictably veered off into a tirade about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and how, as president, Trump could’ve stopped it.

“I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president,” Trump said. “But I don’t even talk about that because they did a report and there was no obstruction.”…” 

AND…

“…During a pre-taped one-on-one interview with ABC News reporter George Stephanopoulos, Trump argued that “a lot of great lawyers” agree that Article 2 of the Constitution means that the President can’t obstruct justice.

“So a president can’t obstruct justice?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“A president can run the country,” Trump responded. “And that’s what happened, George. I run the country and I run it well.”

“When the President does it, it’s not illegal?” Stephanopoulos asked….”

“I’m just saying a president under Article 2–it’s very strong, read it,” Trump said. “Do you have Article 2? Read it.”

(To be clear, executive privilege is not mentioned in the Constitution)

Trump Claims Article 2 Gives Him ‘The Right To Do Whatever I Want As President’

Trump When Asked If POTUS Can Obstruct Justice: POTUS Can ‘Run The Country’

So, the president’s defense team will have to find a justification that he has refused to cooperate with Congress. While they may rightly point to very specific instances where other president’s have attempted (successfully or unsuccessfully) to invoke “executive privilege”, they will have to justify an unbridled power of the president to hide all his actions and documents.

Now, will the defense team address these issues raised by the House managers? Will they respond to the facts and evidence in the charges? Will they talk about how the Democrats have hated Trump from day one? Will they talk about Adam Schiff?  Will they talk about the Mueller Report being a hoax? Will they claim the entire procedure is a  “witch hunt”? Or will they talk about how corrupt the Biden’s are? Benghazi Redux?

In other words, will they address the points the Hose manager have  made, or will they deflect ? Isn’t the answer obvious?

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Filed under Congress, Constitution, Democrat, Elections, foreign aid, GOP, government, impeachment, liberals, logic, Politics, POTUS, president, Senate, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

The Murder Trial of Bobo the Clown

My good friend Bobo the Clown was indicted for murder.

The prosecutor had a video of Bobo walking into the bank. Shots were heard. Bobo left the bank with big bag.

The police were called. One bank teller was dead on the floor. Shot three times. In addition thousands of dollars were missing from the bank.

Bobo was arrested. He plead not guilty.

Bobo’s lawyer said it was a witch hunt. The police hated clowns. They were singling out Bobo because he was a clown.

So, the evidence was clear. But wait. just before the trial began 3 witnesses came forward. They all knew Bobo. They all said they saw Bobo with a gun and a bag of money. One of them even drove Bobo’s getaway car. A clown car.

Now, Bobo’s lawyer claims that these witnesses should not be allowed to testify. They are too late. They should have come forward earlier.

As it happens, the chairman of the jury, Moscow Mitch, agrees. Moscow Mitch , in addition to being chairman of the jury is a long time clown friend of Bobo. In addition Moscow Mitch decides what evidence can be presented at the trial. They go back a long way. He doesn’t want to hear anything else.

So, the fair trial begins.

Any bets on the outcome?

 

 

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Filed under Constitution, Elections, GOP, government, impeachment, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Trump, United States