Letter writer opines that Trump trial and verdict were an affront to the rule of law

To the Editor:

The page one lead headline, in The Oak Ridger’s edition of June 3, to a story written by USA Today reporter Karissa Waddick was “Trump conviction has landmark impacts“. The sub-headline for the story was “Scholars call it a win for rule of law …”

The verdict was really an affront to, not a win for, the rule of law. It was one affront in a series of affronts in a judicial saga that violated the rule of law at almost every turn.

Alvin Bragg, the district attorney of New York County (aka NYC’s borough of Manhattan), ran for office on a promise to get Trump. He identified the defendant, i.e. Donald J. Trump, before he identified the supposed crime. Then Bragg’s indictment of Trump failed to fully describe the crime that Trump supposedly committed. This failure, to anyone like me with a passing knowledge of the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, smacked of a violation of Trump’s constitutional rights.

The crime Bragg came up with, well after identifying the defendant, was falsifying business records with intent to commit or cover up another crime. However, the indictment did not specify what the other crime was, though Bragg, in some public statements, hinted that it was a violation of federal election law. The Trump legal team requested that Bragg provide a bill of particulars that further defined the crime, but Bragg apparently ignored the request.

Waddick’s article was unbalanced because it failed to present contrary views to those expressed by the “scholars” she references. Opposing views by more prominent (and I believe more astute) legal professionals (e.g., Alan Dershowitz, who was a professor at Harvard’s law school for nearly 40 years, and Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University School of Law, neither of whom are Trump supporters) could have been easily found on the internet. This lack of balance should lead readers to suspect that Waddick is biased against former president Trump.

A somewhat detailed argument about the violation of Trump’s constitutional rights appeared in a June 5 Wall Street Journal op-ed. It was written by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley, both of whom practice appellate and constitutional law in Washington, D.C. (Price Foley is a law professor at Florida International University College of Law).

I recommend that those who want a deeper understanding of the case and its constitutional issues listen to an about 20-minute dispassionate presentation by Yale Law School professor Jed Rubenfeld. It can be reached through a number of internet blogs (e.g., Legal Insurrection: https://legalinsurrection.com/2024/06/trump-guilty-verdict-there-are-some-serious-constitutional-problems-with-this-case).

Bill Grimmell

Oak Ridge

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Letter writer opines: Trump trial, verdict were affront to rule of law